from Pamela Ross, vice president of opportunity, equity & inclusion
Many of our neighbors, partners, and community leaders have reached out to us, committing to take action to address and dismantle systemic racism in our community. THANK YOU.
First, you must make this personal. This work is not nine-to-five. You must own your learning and action. However, there are several books, articles, podcasts, documentaries, etc. that are great resources for this work. We have a list here that has helped us in our journey. Absorbing this information and becoming fully aware of the racial terror Black and Brown people have endured—and continue to endure every day—in this community and this nation is a necessary first step, but only an entry point into this work.
The systems that were designed to marginalize, stigmatize and blatantly mistreat people of color—specifically Black people—are the systems that built our nation hundreds of years ago. Our commitment to dismantle these systems is a generational one, but we also believe real change can begin today with full cooperation and strong community partners. We must all be aware of how we perpetuate the racist systems that plague our community and this country every single day.
It is time for real change. No more complacency. No more silence. We must demand profound change.
CICF does not pretend to have all of the answers—nor do we claim to be pioneers in the space of racial equity. What we will claim is our responsibility to speak the truth. The truth is enough is enough. It is time for real change. No more complacency. No more silence. We must demand profound change.
There are concrete things that we can all do and commit to right now to become an anti-racist organization:
- If you believe in equity and inclusion but are an all-White institution—you need to change that.
- If you are all White-led institution—with no leaders of color—but say you believe in equity and inclusion—you need to change that.
- If you are an institution that predominately serves people of color, but your staff and board do not represent the community you serve—you need to change that.
- If you are one of many institutions of power in this community that can make a real change for all but have no pathway to authentically listening to resident voices—you need to change that.
- If you are a hiring manager or in human resources and struggle to find diversity in your applicants—ask yourself ‘why’ and know you need to change that.
- If you are an institution that has not examined your policies and practices through the lens of access, inclusion and racial equity—you need to change that and institutionalize the work in perpetuity.
- If your organization has a diversity, equity and inclusion position, but their power is stifled when the work doesn’t feel good or “right”—you need to change that. Empower them to make REAL change in your work, otherwise, they are merely tokens.
- If you still don’t believe Black and Brown people continue to be unfairly held back due to racist systems—you must get informed and also recognize yourself as part of the problem.
- If you know racist systems exist and want to see equality for all—be an advocate. Use your POWER and VOICE to make a real change.
- Overall, in this vital work towards equity—BE PRESENT AND AUTHENTIC.
The time is NOW.
This opportunity for true change has come at the cost of many lives and anguish. We cannot afford to miss it. Be the change you wish to see—and start today.