As part of the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, Color of Change President Rashad Robinson and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, came together for a conversation via video call. The two men opened up a discussion about systematic racism, turning words into action, and the importance of compassion.
Color of Change is America's largest online racial justice organisation, driven by 1.7 million members. Its campaigns span everything from holding police forces accountable to fighting for credit and debt protections. On June 17, Color Of Change along with the NAACP, ADL, and a number of other non-profits came together under the Stop Hate For Profit campaign, which asks Facebook’s advertisers to pause ad spending and demand that racism across the platform be addressed.
Speaking via video call, Rashad mentioned that he has been speaking with both Harry and Meghan Markle about racial justice and what can be done in this moment to truly make change. "I think so much of what's happening right now is how do we translate analysis, awareness, the visibility of this moment, into action," he said. "Action actually has the ability to propel real change." Rashad encouraged everyone to direct their energy into doing something, a sentiment echoed by Harry.
Rashad went on to explain the difference between charity and structural change. "Charity is not bad," he said "but when we use charity to substitute the work to actually change the rules then we don't put ourselves in the situation to build towards justice."
Harry agreed, saying "Charity is crucial in so many areas, but it can't fix the problem." He went on to say it is like "bringing a bucket of water to a forest fire," adding "we have to go to the root of the problem, to the source of the problem, and fix it there. And ... it's going to take every single one of us. This is not down to the Black community. This is down to every single person that is on the planet right now."
Harry and Rashad went on to discuss the notions of compassion and empathy. When asked where he gets his ability to empathise from, Harry said: "I don't think it comes as a choice. I think every single human being is born with compassion and empathy as part of your structure ... You're not born to hate, that becomes a learned behaviour. We've allowed society to become obsessed with storytelling. And inevitable with that storytelling comes this addiction to divisiveness."
The royal called compassion and empathy "great tools" for bringing the world together and mentioned his privileged background contrasted with the experiences of people he meets through his humanitarian work has instilled empathy within him.
Rashad said the Color of Change is looking to take these ideas of compassion and empathy and harness them to move society towards a more equitable future. He explained that not only do we need individuals to be compassionate, but we need systems – be it healthcare, the courts, or the economy – to be so also.