Our hearts open to our family in France, and across Europe, who are feeling most acutely the intense pain from this latest inhumanity.
It will take strength of all kinds to create the peace and prosperity we all seek. Sometimes it will take the strength to endure, sometimes the strength to build, and sometimes the strength to fight.
Our unique role as a community may be to show how business, and how we as business leaders, can work to create the just and inclusive society upon which a lasting peace and shared prosperity must be built. In an era in which it may become more likely and comfortable to become more closed and fearful, perhaps we might be able to show a way to become more open and hopeful, without being naive.
When delivering his remarks just after the Paris attacks, it appeared to me that our President stumbled when he substituted ‘the pursuit of happiness’ for the third or the three core values upon which the French Republic and its U.S. sister stand—liberté, égalité, fraternité.
It occurs to me that he may have stumbled because fraternité is the hardest of these three core values to uphold. It may not simply have been the hardest to remember, but it may have also been the hardest to lift up. It is no doubt hardest to lift up when under attack, when one’s vision is limited by the blinders of war in all its inhumane and unbelievable horrors.
It’s at times like these, including those when family and friends have been at the site of similar atrocities, that I, perhaps naively, fall back on fraternité as the unlikely, and lonely, place from which a more just and inclusive world might take root. I am unaware of any shared or durable prosperity that has existed throughout history in the context of an unjust society in which the majority of people feel marginalized and powerless.
I am not naive enough to believe that all forms of strength will be required to win what is ultimately a battle of ideas, but I am confident that this is a battle of ideas, and that the best ideas are those that are put into practice. This is why I am full of awe and hope about the contribution we can make as a community to this battle. We, as a community, it might be said—as it is demonstrated in how B Corps are addressing the issue of displaced persons—have a very particular set of skills. Whether working to use business to ease the pain and to create opportunity for displaced persons, or in countless other businesses around the world working to give people the skills, tools, and market access to lift themselves out of poverty, the B Corp community has a vital role to play in this battle. It is not merely the role of a marginal do-gooder screaming into the wind, but the role of a meaningful system-changer that blazes a new trail for others to follow.
At times like these I am ever more grateful to work with and for all of you, and especially for our friends and family in Paris, in France, and across Europe. It is at times like these that I am also proud of the friends and family with whom we work in the Middle East. And I wish we had more of them. And I want to build more bridges to reach out to them and for them to reach out to us in the spirit of freedom, equality, and brother- and sister-hood.