Last summer, once the lockdown was over and it was permitted to hold small face to face meetings, I went to my first meeting of a non-profit board I sit on.
I arrived second to last, and found that those who’d arrived ahead of me had removed their masks. This made me uncomfortable, but so as to not be an outlier, I removed my mask too.
A few minutes after I arrived, our final board member arrived, a long-serving and much-respected board member, and he kept his mask on for the entire meeting, thus normalizing something I previously regarded as aberrant.
Needless to say, I kept my mask on for the next meeting and those that followed.
Bill is an avid cyclist in our neighbourhood. He cycles year round, and has a well-worn through the rabbit warren of downtown streets. Often he’ll stop to chat when our paths cross. And he’s always wearing a high-vis vest when he rides.
It had never occurred to me to wear a high-vis vest while bicycling, but that it made Bill so much more visible won me over. And so when I go to get groceries in the evening on my bike, now I wear one.
Like my brave board colleague, Bill normalized something that previously seemed weird.
We get wrapped up thinking that change is hard and takes money and campaigns and social media outreach; often all it takes is one person to bravely lead the way.