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We have all been deeply disturbed by the events of the past weeks. As a volunteer, helping with the cleanup, I’ve seen and personally experienced tremendous loss. I’ve witnessed the struggle, the pain and the suffering of so many. The lack of understanding of the experiences of the black community and the need to take action for social and racial equality has been brought into sharp focus for us all.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought pain and loss for many. For the last few months, we’ve struggled to keep our families safe as well as grappled with ambiguity as we’ve learned to adjust to new ways of working and what additional changes we might expect. We will continue to battle the health and economic impact of the Coronavirus for many months to come most likely years. As overwhelmed and fatigued as we all feel, however, COVID-19 is only one of the challenges confronting our community today.
As an organization committed to justice and equality, those commitments have never been more important. We cannot stay silent about the murder of George Floyd and so many others. We must recognize the disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on vulnerable populations as well as the individual and institutionalized racism and violence the black community still endures. Hatred, discrimination, as well as injustice, are unacceptable. No one should feel threatened or fearful because of who they are, or choose to be, or because of the color of their skin. We are all responsible for speaking out against discrimination and intolerance and must support one another not only in seeking justice but also in reconciliation and healing.
As an organization that values diversity, inclusion, respect, honesty, and integrity, we must be willing and have a responsibility to both examine ourselves, be open to learning, as well as take the time to engage and listen to one another with compassion. We must be willing to stand together against bias and hatred, whatever its form. Our diversity gives us strength, and it is our humanity that unites us.
Dr. Rebecca Thomley
Chief Executive Officer