It’s Time to Take Responsibility


It’s Time to Take Responsibility

A few weeks ago I had signed up to participate in a program by my friends at FEARLESS COMMUNICATORS to share a story that was relevant to me NOW. I had planned to talk about how COVID had been a blessing in disguise as it had allowed me to thrive in my personal life as well as in the communications and culture work I do. How? Because the pandemic presented an opportunity for me to take responsibility to show up as my authentic, whole-best self, playing to my strengths and passions. Which is the premise of I SPARK, the first part of my I SPARK OUR FIRE  framework.

However, as we came together via Zoom to discuss our storylines, this didn’t feel right at all. The night before was the Friday when the national protests for racial justice and equality started. I sat at my kitchen table on a Zoom call with some friends when we heard the a group of people march down our street. So we went outside onto the terrace. Some protesters threw trash into the streets to create roadblocks for the police cars. Then, one of the cars tried to take a turn but protesters used their bodies to barricade the street. The confrontation was palpable in the air and I was hoping the situation wouldn’t escalate and nobody would get hurt. Meanwhile,  I also felt a wave of guilt wash over me. I should have been down their marching, standing in solidarity with BIPOC, demanding justice and fighting for equality.


I knew that as a white woman I couldn’t be talking about self-actualization which is at the top of Maslow’s pyramid that shows the hierarchy of human needs. While at the same time BIPOC are struggling with the need for safety which is just above basic physiological needs required for survival such as food and water.

It felt ridiculous and I wondered if maybe I SPARK or I SPARK OUR FIRE were ridiculous, too. However, as I was thinking about it, I realized it wasn’t. On the contrary, I SPARK and I SPARK OUR FIRE are highly relevant right now.

I SPARK can be about self-actualization. Moreover, it’s also a framework that allows us to take a stance on any topic that we deem important and want to play an active role in. Below I’m applying the framework to guide my own thinking about racial justice and equality and how I can take responsibility and make a difference.

I SPARK Framework

I Identity How do I want to show up in this conversation, what is my role?
S Strengths What are my strengths aka white privileges, platforms and areas of influence that I can leverage to amplify the voices of BIPOC, be an ally and dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy?
P Passion I’m passionate about learning. So how am I going to educate myself, uncover my own biases and (in)actions that contribute to the issue and become an ally instead?
A Actions What actions am I going to take in my personal life, with my friends and family as well as work?
R Roar This is uncomfortable. How am I going to call up the courage to overcome my own white fragility, step outside of my comfort zone and ROAR?
K Kindness Last but not least I have to be kind to myself. There is no point in beating myself up over the guilt I feel, the things I did or didn’t do. I have to focus on the now and do better moving forward.

Time for a Change

Between the pandemic and the fight for justice and equality we have to reinvent ourselves and show up as our authentic, whole-best selves. Playing to our strengths and passions. Consequently, we need to take indivudual responsibility and ignite our own spark so together we can build a fire. A fire that brings transformation and much needed change to elevate and upgrade what the new normal looks like.

When we speak about systemic racism we mustn’t forget that systems and organizations are made up and run by individuals. Therefore, we individually have to take responsibility. Change starts with each and every single one of us. What we individually do matters because it aggregates and translates into a collective reality which is the meaning behind I SPARK OUR FIRE.

So what spark are you going to ignite right now?

5 minute story about how to ignite your own spark to show up as your authentic, whole-best self, playing to your strengths and passions so together we can start a faire and bring the change we need right now





Author: Barbara Sennrich

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