Earlier this summer, I wrote a very personal letter to our residents, families, staff, Board of Directors, and the general public. In this letter, I expressed my heartbreak at the then-recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. These senseless deaths, along with the more recent shooting by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin of Jacob Black, left me wondering, “What could we do as an organization to address implicit and explicit bias within our walls and provide opportunities for inclusion and collaboration?”
At ERS, we are a diverse group of people within our organization. Several years ago, through our staff's great work, we identified the word "inclusion" as a core value of ERS. Our core value of inclusion guides our behavior. Inclusion means valuing collaboration and diversity of thought, experiences, and perspective. It is appreciating that we are better together, leveraging our strengths and differences. There is no room for division, hatred, or racist views in a culture that values inclusion.
It became very apparent to us all that centuries of racial injustice have resulted in cultural and systematic bias against people of color that can be seen across the American society—in our laws, our data sets, our workforce, services, and in health outcomes. In a world that is becoming more divisive over racial and cultural differences, we have determined that we must celebrate our diversity and fundamentally reject all manifestations of racism.
As a result, the Servant Leadership Team, with the support of our Board of Directors, began a series of conversations and educational sessions regarding racial injustice and racism called, We Can Do Better. The series, which started in June and has been held every 2 to 3 weeks, will be ongoing work that we do to become better allies for our brothers and sisters of color. Maya Angelou has said, "Do the best you can with what you know. Then when you know better, you do better." And it is in that spirit that we will learn and engage with one another to create a safe and inclusive space for our staff.
For the We Can Do Better series, ERS has provided a forum for staff members of color and biracial families to share their experiences in society and at work to create empathy and understanding of the injustices society regularly places in front of them. Furthermore, it has provided education for staff members regarding topics such as white privilege, micro-aggressions, implicit bias, and more. Finally, we are looking inward to challenge ourselves to find institutional or implicit biases that may hinder our staff's development and well-being. This is hard work. Our staff has embraced the series of meetings to share their personal stories, build relationships, and empathize with one another and work towards change.
The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."
- Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
We must be a part of the change.
- As a non-profit, rooted in Christian faith…
- As an employer who is represented by and serves a diverse set of races, religions, sexual orientations, and cultures…
- As an organization that believes strongly in the idea of inclusion…
- As a people who see and feel the pain…
We fundamentally seek change for the betterment of all.
Please join me to support our efforts as we seek to make a brighter future in our corner of the world at Episcopal Retirement Services. Please stop by our homepage, www.episcopalretirement.com, to stay connected to our journey.
President & CEO