Voices Of Our Community: Malik Ashiru

By: The Unsettled Team 

As we stand in solidarity with our Black community, in words and in deeds, we also continue to listen. Diversity, perspective, and the inner wisdom that every person holds is ingrained in what it means to live Unsettled. 

We are going to continue to ensure that we elevate all voices from our community, and right now, in this moment, it’s important that we give a voice to our Black alumni around the world. 

They share with us how we all can do our part in the fight against racial injustice at home and on our travels. May we all have the strength to listen to these tough truths. Only then can true change begin to manifest. 

We are listening. 

Malik Ashiru

Name: Toks Malik Ashireu

 Current Location: New York, NY

 Tell us about your work background 

I currently lead a team at Google managing some of our largest strategic hardware partnerships. Prior to that I worked in financial services, management consulting and at some point was building airplanes for Boeing.

What is one way you’d like to share with our community for how we can support racial justice in the US?

Systemic/institutional racism can seem like an overwhelming  problem and often many people feel paralyzed as they don’t know where to start. Choose one area e.g. policing, criminal justice system, healthcare, education. Give some of your time to helping in that world and above all make sure to identify and share with someone who will keep you accountable.

What is one way all travelers can support racial equality when they are traveling?

Be observant and speak up courageously when the opportunity presents itself. Most people who hate do so often because they have no relationship with “the other”. While many countries are open and friendly, there are instances that aren’t. In situations where you see racism in action, speak up or ask the person who’s on the receiving end if/how you can support them.

What have you learned about leading teams in our current digital and remote world? 

People over profit. So many folks are dealing with anxiety, stress, health and safety issues and it’s not always easy to see that over video conferencing. When I ask “how are you doing?” I am willing to take as much time to read between the lines and sit in awkward silence if I think there’s more going on. I don’t push but with space people open up. One of my favorite sayings paraphrased – “people don’t remember what project you did, but will remember how you made them feel”.

What does living Unsettled mean to you?

Equilibrium. Whenever I get on the road, I am moving out of familiar to unfamiliar. The tension reminds me of how lucky I am (we are) to live in a time when we can explore more than ever. I am curious as to what the post COVID travel world would look like.

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