Hard Work for Racial Justice – Message From the CEOOctober 11, 2018
This week, I attended the Equity in the Center Summit in Baltimore. In the midst of the challenging speakers and workshops, a few themes began to emerge for me. First, the work of racial justice is not easy. We in the United States have a difficult history of racial injustice which continues to permeate our systems and culture today. It will take a national mind shift and corrective action to dismantle, or at least, work around those policies and practices that are built on privilege. This is a complex road on the individual, organizational, and societal levels.
Second, if you wait to be “ready” for this work, you will never get started. Regardless of our individual commitments, we all bring a lot of history to these conversations. We need to examine the personal and national histories that lead to our biases and whether the cultural norms we adhere to are encouraging or blocking the corrective actions needed. But, while we are doing that individual work, we also must team together to shift the cultures of our organizations so we may contribute to, and perhaps lead the creation of a truly equitable world.
Third, no one person is alone in this work. We know from our reframing human services initiative that “rugged individualism” is a cultural myth that permeates many current attitudes in an unproductive way. We all benefit when each of us is offered greater opportunity for well-being. To get there will take a concerted group effort. As I learned this week, there are many already leading this charge and many more ready to join the battle. As one of our summit speakers said: We are trying to create a world that none of us has lived in. And that takes hard work – together.
Lee Sherman, President & CEO