In the past few years, we have borne witness to events of immense historic significance in the fight for fair and equal treatment under the law within the United States.  Undoubtedly, we all have mourned injustice and incomprehensible loss – from Ferguson to Falcon Heights to Baton Rouge – for Trayvon and Alton and Philando.  To Dallas – and five slain officers – Brent, Lorne, Patrick, and Michael Krol and Michael Smith.  And too many others – time and time again.

In the midst of such events, it is essential that we engage in a deeper, broader dialogue for unity with what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now”.

In his epic and eloquent Letter from a Birmingham Jail , Dr. King reminds us that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Within this deeper dialogue, I believe it is essential that collectively we find our way out of “the deep fog of misunderstanding” of this national crisis.  It is imperative that we find new levels of insight. Of courage. And passion.  We must not only articulate what we rail against but also what we are willing to create in the name of unity and equality.

I’m honored to lead inclusion within a company that values such courage and passion, embraces a full spectrum of diversity, and honors the greater values of equality and respect above all as a true expression of who we are.

Within the words “We are Cisco” – I see Dr. King’s sense of our mutuality.  It makes me proud.  It gives me strength.  And it ignites my own courage, passion, and willingness to dig deep, join hands, break down barriers, lift hearts, and shift minds.

Let’s start with a deeper, broader dialogue. In this age of collaboration, lending your own unique voice to the conversation has never been easier or more crucial. Where is your passion for driving fairness and equality across your communities? How will you stand up and speak out?  What are you willing to create in the name of unity and equality?



Shari Slate

Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Officer

SVP of Inclusive Future & Strategy