Message to ServiceNet Staff – from President & CEO Sue Stubbs
Since late May, we have witnessed millions of people across the country marching in the streets and standing vigil to honor the life, and protest the brutal death, of George Floyd. And to remember the countless others who died before him, at the hands of racists. As a person with white privilege, I am ashamed that we have not been able to put an end to the racism that has plagued our country since its inception.
Meanwhile, my heart goes out to those of you in our community who are suffering most at this moment. My thoughts are with you, and while I can’t claim to truly understand your pain, I pledge to do whatever I can to try to stop racism dead in its tracks whenever I see it.
I am sad and angry. But I can only imagine what this experience is like for our African American friends, co-workers, and clients here at ServiceNet, as well as in our larger communities and throughout the country. And for other people of color. What it feels like to move through the world in fear that some unintentional misstep or random circumstance could lead to your death at the hands of a racist police officer. To be re-traumatized every time another brother’s or sister’s life is lost, senselessly, forever. To know that you might die for no reason other than the color of your skin. And to worry 24/7 about the safety of your sons and daughters, even after you have had “the talk” and drilled into them how dangerous it could be to do anything that might remotely annoy a cop.
When will these senseless brutal deaths stop? When will enough be enough? Despite the cautious optimism that many of us felt when we finally elected a black President, we need to own up to the fact that racism still permeates our society. We all need to take action. If we were thinking that change would happen through gradual evolution, and that we were doing our part just by being good people ourselves and treating everyone fairly, we were wrong.
Those of us who enjoy white privilege need to sharpen our senses and be on the lookout for the racial slights, slanders, and injustices, large and small, that go on around us. We need to speak up when we spot injustice, especially when it would be easier to remain silent. Who knows what impact we might have on the next racist we encounter in our travels. We probably aren’t going to change anyone’s attitude by one challenging comment, but if there is a groundswell of people calling out racism wherever they see it, maybe together we can have an impact.