04 Aug The promise of a brighter future – Sentiments from our CEO
July 30, 2020
It has been a painful time for our country. I am saddened and angered by the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others who have recently been hurt or killed. More recently, the world lost two civil rights giants: long time U.S. Representative, John Lewis and fellow Freedom Rider, C.T. Vivian. Both will be remembered as icons in the continuing campaign for justice, equity, and peace.
Here at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson, we believe in diversity, equity, and inclusion — values and principles that have powered our mission to do whatever it takes to help kids build great futures. Whether by donating money, educating yourself, or amplifying the voices of those suffering from inequity, there are many ways for you to support the changes necessary to eliminate racial inequities. Below are steps we’ve taken as an organization in direct response to my June 1, 2020 letter:
- Re-affirmed our HR policy of zero tolerance for discrimination
- Committed to implementing additional measures to remove biases in our hiring practices
- In partnership with the Board Governance Committee, began actively recruiting new Board members who are more reflective of the diverse communities we serve
- Conducted a staff town hall meeting which enabled employees to share feelings and concerns surrounding the intersection of our profession, the youth we serve, and the impacts of systemic racism in our communities
- The Wellness Committee is drafting recommendations to management as solicited in an employee survey regarding continued improvement of equity and inclusion within our organizational culture
- Initiated a review of our marketing materials and grant proposal language with a goal to better articulate issues of race and equity which disproportionally impact the children we serve
- Staff at all levels are participating in numerous webinars, virtual town hall meetings, and anti-racism training activities and exploring ways to incorporate this learning into our in-person and virtual programs for youth
- As a Board member of The Professional Association of Boys & Girls Clubs, I have provided perspective for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s action plan to address racism and inequity across the nation
- As CEO, I am co-leading a coalition of out-of-school-time providers throughout Los Angeles to advocate for increased community investment for youth
Below are some additional ways to support these principles, which I share in hopes that you will join me in undertaking:
- Promote learning about diversity
One thing that the Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted to many people is that they have been unaware or uninformed when it comes to issues of race and discrimination. Read more books, watch films and television series about racism, listen to podcasts, engage in open conversations with friends and family, at work, and with the children in your life.
- Show solidarity on social media
Online campaigns have been one of the most effective ways for people to show support and raise awareness of the anti-racist movement, especially as our communities continue to be disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Take an active role in lifting others.
- Amplify youth perspectives
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. It is imperative that we give children and teens a platform to safely express their feelings and concerns while creating a vision for a brighter future. This focus will be intentionally integrated into our program model. Staff will receive training and resources to increase their confidence in facilitating these critical conversations with youth.
- Raise our voices
The late U.S. Representative John Lewis once said, “The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society and we must use it.” Learn about your candidates’ and your elected officials’ positions on issues that are important to you. Use your vote to make your voice heard.
- Have courageous conversations
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation launched a youth development series designed to increase knowledge about kids’ wellness, help build their confidence, and support their resilience. If you are interested in participating, please RSVP here for the 2nd Courageous Conversation Workshop, which will take place on Wednesday, August 26th.
While I don’t have all the answers, I am committed to being a part of the solution in both voice and action. Here at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson, we all must continue to break down the barriers that divide us and build the bridges that unite us.
I want to hear from you. Your voice matters. Please contact me at email@example.com
Kim Richards, CEO