Lisa G. is a senior associate for Keecha Harris and Associates, Inc. In this KHA Q&A, she shares why diversity enhances organizations.
KHA: What was your path to KHA?
LG: I got here through my connection with Keecha. I met her through UAB, and we were friends. I moved away for a job, then that job ended, and I was reconnecting with people back in Birmingham. She had been talking with a foundation about a potential collaboration, and the opportunity came up for me to join KHA because of my background in research and evaluation particularly community-based research.
KHA: What’s been the most rewarding part of your work here?
LG: I think the most rewarding part is being able to be autonomous. I’ve enjoyed the flexibility in terms of the format of the company.
Also, the work I do with the foundation is very rewarding. I am able to work with people who are all over the country and implement programs in a variety of types of locations with different social and economic contexts. For this multi-site effort, there are sites in the deep South, the far West, the Southeast, in urban districts and more suburban areas.
KHA: Why should organizations care about racial equity?
LG: I think they should care because of the world that we live in. We’re in a global society. Everywhere you go, places tend to be very racially and ethnically diverse.
That diversity brings richness, and any well-functioning organization that wants to make a difference should probably be reflective of the larger society. Part of that goal is being diverse in terms of race and equity and understanding the complexities of those issues. At least in the U.S., everyone has a unique worldview that’s informed by their race and ethnicity.
KHA: Why do you care about racial equity?
LG: I care about it because I’m a black person in America. I’m a black woman, so that impacts a lot of how I experience the world.
I care about it because I’d like to see us move toward greater racial equity, not just for myself but for other people of color and other marginalized populations, so that they will have opportunities in society to have a happy and fulfilling life and not have opportunities be blocked because of their race.
KHA: If you could recommend one book, related to your work, what would it be and why?
LG: Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment by James H. Jones, about the experiments done on black men in Alabama.
That was particularly interesting to read that book as a graduate student because I had a great uncle who was in the syphilis study in Alabama, and I actually met him. He lived in Bullock County in Union Springs. He was married but never had kids or anything.
It was interesting having this sort of academic experience, reading about what was done to these men, but also having a family member who was part of the study and not just some distant person I’d never met.
KHA: What’s something about you people might be surprised to know?
LG: I used to really be pretty serious about acting and doing community theater. I did productions in college, graduate school and high school. Now I just don’t have time, because life.
My favorite production was Our Town, because I actually got to play Emily. It was really interesting and a casting breakthrough to play the main character, especially as a Black girl. Our Town had a trimmed down set, so to be able to transport the audience with your words and acting was a really special experience.