”There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

02 June 2020

By Phil Southerland, CEO and Co-Founder of Team Novo Nordisk

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” (Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break The Silence, April 4, 1967)


For me, that time is now. I cannot in good faith stand by and watch what is happening in my beloved country without saying something. While this current situation focuses on freedom and justice for black people, it is so much greater than that. By extension, it is for all people. If we want real change, it must happen through our elected officials. We must vote for candidates who will act on reform.


The murder of George Floyd ignited a much-needed fire to move our nation towards change. What happened happens way too frequently.


The protestors are driven to imagine and create a world free of anti-blackness, where every black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive.


It has been beautiful to see so many brave souls of all race, sex, and ethnicity putting their lives on the line to protest for change. Millions are marching while only a few are wreaking havoc. There are countless poignant images of police officers walking in unity with protestors.


Yet with any sack of apples, there are always a few bad ones. The looting and violence do not negate the value or merit behind this collective movement.

We cannot let the death of George Floyd be in vain.


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., “Strength to Love”)


Martin Luther King, Jr. once stood, fought and died for change. He urged us that “world peace through non-violent means is neither absurd nor unattainable. All other methods have failed. Thus we must begin anew. Non-violence is a good starting point. Those of us who believe in this method can be voices of reason, sanity and understanding amid the voices of violence, hatred and emotion.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., “Dreams of Brighter Tomorrows,” Ebony Magazine, March 1965)


On June 1st, the President of the United States encouraged military action against people who are raising their voices for change. As a parent of three boys, it was unfathomable to think that one day my child could be driven to bring about change that improves humanity and have the President essentially threaten his life in response.


Mothers and fathers of brave military soldiers watch their children serve this great nation. They go into service to protect us, not to follow orders to take action against fellow Americans.

The direction this takes us is extremely unacceptable.


We need to change this narrative. It is time that we come together to intentionally build and nurture a loving community that is bonded to restore our nation. Together as comrades, allies, friends, and family, we can create a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.


Let us unify peacefully and take to the polls in November to vote. Voting is one of the most effective and peaceful ways to bring about change.


We stand together, we stand with you, and we strongly believe that Black Lives Matter.



share this story

related stories