Below is a personal message that CEO Stephen Myers shared with CAP employees on June 2, 2020:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
When Dr. Martin Luther King wrote those famous words in his letter from the Birmingham jail in 1963, I wonder if he could have imagined that Americans would still be fighting for justice so many decades later.
Captured on video, George Floyd’s death was a blatant injustice in Minneapolis, ringing the bells of justice throughout the nation. This death, and so many others like it, is fundamentally unacceptable.
These tragedies and their aftermath affect each of us differently. Against a backdrop of disproportionately high death rates from COVID-19, the horrific examples of injustice and racism hit especially hard among our black colleagues. Because of who I am, I have had more than my fair share of breaks, and recognizing my own privilege, I am in a position to do something.
Just like you, I have always known that racism exists, but it has never really impacted me personally. I am highly sympathetic to those in the black community and the injustices they face regularly. I commit to listening and learning from their experiences.
Appalling images of death, followed by disappointment from some and rage from many others have awakened all of us. Injustice isn’t just somebody else’s problem. It’s our problem and our opportunity to fix.
What Is Normal?
As COVID-19 follows its course, we want nothing more than to return to normalcy. It’s clear, though, different life experiences lead to different normals. The normal that led to Mr. Floyd’s death opened my eyes to a stark reality. We cannot go back to normal. As a society—and as an organization—we must be better.
This is a time to listen and learn from diverse experiences. Respectful dialogue among co-workers, neighbors, and even family members can help us move from sympathy to empathy.
Like many of you, I often turn to the bookshelf. Articles, essays, books, and other works by black authors will help expand my understanding. Up next on my reading list are How to be an Anti-Racist and So You Want to Talk About Race. I’d like to hear your thoughts after you read them (or similar works). Broadening our understanding of race will help to inform actions we can take to be a better organization and do our part to create a better society.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Late last year, the CAP began a formal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) process. This will be an ongoing journey and we have much work ahead of us. A key goal for an inclusive work environment is that everyone feels included and is comfortable speaking up to share ideas and points of view. When you bring your authentic self to work, you’re happier and we’re better able to provide exemplary service to our members, customers, and ultimately those whose lives are better because of what we do.
I believe that justice is what holds our society together. It’s incumbent upon you and me to work toward justice for all.
Expect another update when needed. Stay well. srm