William Liao

March 18, 2021


First, some alignment:

Oxford Languages defines ‘progress’ as ‘forward or onward movement towards a destination.’

The undertones of forward, onward, and destination are this: it’s about getting to an a place that is both decidedly better and important.

As you endeavor to make progress — to move towards a better an important place — consider these three facets that make it possible: focus, remembrance, and specific action.

  1. Progress takes time, which means that if you want to make progress you need to be able to focus your attention for far longer than a news cycle on the issues that you care about addressing. It’s why companies create MVPs (mission, vision, and purpose) and business plans, it’s why activist groups exist — it’s about keeping critical issues at the center of attention so they get addressed.
  2. Progress requires that you learn about & remember what you’re moving forward from. History is a trove of wisdom, of lessons that tell us to do this not that. Because that never ends well. To forget history, is to risk having to pay the hefty price of relearning.
  3. Progress requires specific action. It’s not enough to say ‘let’s do better’. As a leader, colleague, member of a community, person with a voice, the onus is to figure out what specifically can be done to make things better. It can be about keeping a conversation going, spotlighting an important voice, changing a policy, introducing a new policy, establishing a new institution or practice, or questioning an existing institution or practice — in any case this kind of specificity is essential to shift people from hoping things get better to knowing how to make things better.

Tenaciously focus on the issues that matter, remember why they matter, and be specific in your response. It does not get any more practical than that, and to choose to show up every day in these ways is to create the only chance there is for the culture to get better.

Speaking of…
there’s been a significant increase in anti-Asian violence in the last year. 8 people were murdered in Atlanta on Tuesday. An elderly asian woman was brutally attacked on Market Street in San Francisco yesterday.

It’s not getting better.

Your Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) friends, family, and colleagues are hurting.

Here’s 3 specific things you can do to show up for them: educate yourself (start here and here), donate, keep the conversation going.