05 Jun Sentiments from our CEO
June 1, 2020
My heart breaks as I have witnessed agony in the hearts and souls of the American people as evidenced in the immense and impactful response to the senseless murder of Black Americans such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others by police officers. Our society is being devastated by the systemic, customary racism that saturates the structures that govern and rule the American culture. This a country built on the backs of slaves on land stolen from Native Americans. It can be seen in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services, and the educations our children receive. It is woven into every fabric of our society.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are,” was once said. As a white person, I won’t even pretend to comprehend the depth of pain and anguish my friends and colleagues of color are experiencing, or what it is like to have to live in fear of losing your life for no other reason than the color of your skin. No one should feel threatened or afraid because of the color of their skin, or who they are, or who they choose to be. What it must do to a person to live in that type of fear every day blows my mind. But I will use my voice and my privilege to say…I see you. I hear you.
As the CEO, I have a responsibility to stand with the countless families and communities who have suffered discrimination, hatred or racial violence. As Boys & Girls Club staff, we ALL have an obligation to use our positions as supportive adults in the lives of our members to help in whatever ways we can. All youth need to process these events, hear from their peers and adults about experiences that may not mirror their own, and think about their roles in creating a more just and inclusive society. We all must be diligent about creating and maintaining a safe space that affirms the dignity and humanity of those involved. We must openly discuss the realities that discrimination still exists amongst multiple groups, amongst multiple spectrums. Only by having honest discussions- however difficult they may be- will we ever be able to evolve to an equitable society.
How does BGCC address this? Ignoring it is not an option. If BGCC is truly a great place to work, we must continue to prove it. Below are a few things that I want you to know:
- There is zero tolerance for discrimination and inaction is considered an action of complicity- if you see or hear something, say
- Our hiring practices are rooted in the blind review process with clearly defined objective
- Our Board is committed to recruiting individuals who are committed to eliminating the inequities that our youth face and who will demonstrate this through engagement, financial support and advocacy for change.
- The Wellness Committee will continue to create a culture where staff members feel comfortable sharing their concerns and feelings about racial and other inequities to inform leadership of opportunities for improved practices for service delivery and BGCC’s internal
- This is a time to listen, be patient and be a part of the change you want to see. It’s not a time to be
- If you’re not sure how to respond,
- If you’re not sure what to read,
- If you’re not sure what to do, join the Wellness Committee or another advocacy group of your choice.
- If you don’t feel prepared to have these complex conversations, start with Addressing Current Events on BGCA.net.
- Seize opportunities to lift others, especially those of color, by providing leadership and recognition opportunities.
I know it’s not enough to just have empathy for those impacted. There must be systemic change and I’m committed to using my platforms and my resources, to drive that change. I want to offer my support in providing a safe space for anyone to connect, share, or just be.
We want to hear from you. Your voice matters. Please contact us at [email protected]
Kim Richards, CEO