Racism has no place in the world, and we need to come together to end injustice.
Watching the current protests, I thought it would be best for other voices—those closest to the pain—to be heard. Right now, more than anything else, we need to listen and educate ourselves so we can all help make things better.
Then gym owners asked for help, and that’s part of my mission. Despite trying to help, I’m sure something I write will be misinterpreted. But if this helps one gym owner, then I’ll take that risk.
First: If you’re not sure whether you want to say anything, you don’t have to. But silence can be interpreted as acceptance of the status quo, so you need to make sure your anti-racism position is clear. Ensure that your space is 100 percent free of racism. And you can take effective action by donating time or money: Find a local black-led organization that works for justice and offer your support. Your actions will say more than your words.
Second, if you’re not sure what to say but want to speak out against injustice, educate yourself before you say anything. Do your own research. The best advice I’ve seen so far: Listen more than you talk.
Third, your message should be supportive. Most of you don’t need to hear this, but fighting online can’t help your business and will almost definitely hurt it. This isn’t a time for arguments. It’s a time for support and solidarity.
I asked gym owners in the Two-Brain family how they were going to proceed, and I’ll share their responses with you.
My friend Miles wrote: “What is your mission statement? Ours involves being a safe-haven from the ‘chaos’ of life. All would agree things are quite chaotic. I think if you are speaking from the platform of your gym, I would tie it into how your community could and should benefit from open and honest conversations.”
My friend Mauricio wrote: “Ironically, the places where these conversations might need to happen most are those where there is a strong potential for backlash and heated disagreements, which puts a business and the people at risk. … That’s why I say do what you feel compelled to do, because the risk it entails must be your choice.”
My friend Jennifer wrote: “After careful thought and consideration I decided my business is not a safe space for ‘everyone’ if I don’t speak up.” Read Jennifer’s blog “To Speak or Not to Speak.”
Here are some great examples of responses from the Two-Brain Family:
True Spirit CrossFit and Yoga in Bozeman, Montana, is working to create safe spaces: Click here.
Move Functional Fitness in East Decatur, Georgia is promoting unity. Read the Facebook post: Click here.
Your gym is more than a business to you—mine is to me, too. So I’m not here to tell you exactly what you should do. But I have told you in the past that your job is to make people happy. You’re great at that, and the world needs good people like you right now more than ever.
I think gyms actually can do something: Share pictures of unity and people coming together in a very challenging time. It’s happening anyway; share that story broadly. Let your gym be a model for what’s needed outside.