“Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in history. This month, we honor the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout history, including the civil rights movement and artistic, cultural and political achievements.” (History.com)
Today, issues of racism and social justice are finally seeing new light, illuminated by campaigns to educate and advocate, visibility in the media, greater representation in public and government services, more allies than ever, and increased corporate social responsibility efforts.
I am proud to celebrate Black History Month by reflecting on what our team has accomplished, and more importantly, what we remain committed to doing to ensure the progress that is still needed. Since my last public update in October 2020, we have:
- Hosted a webinar on Building a Better Workplace: How to Maintain a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion and authored an eBook
- Conducted additional diversity training for all Eastridge employees, hosted by renowned speaker and culture expert, Michelle Silverthorn
- Rolled out anti-harassment training to all Eastridge employees and associates
- Created a diversity dashboard evaluating Eastridge’s employee diversity to our industry peers and population at large
- Grown our C4 (Creating Conversations and Committing to Change) affinity group with regularly scheduled monthly meetings
- We held a year-end review and committed to the following for 2021:
- Create hiring and candidate engagement goals
- Increase our community engagement through volunteerism
- Host a contingent workforce supplier diversity webinar during Black History Month
- Share employee spotlights highlighting the experience of several Eastridge employees
- Publish meaningful ways people and companies can celebrate Black History Month
I remain thankful and encouraged that my colleagues continue to take this journey with me. Please join me and the Culture Committee by celebrating Black History Month through CARE:
- Connect with others! Find out what people in your network & community are doing. Social media is a great way to do so.
- Act by getting involved. Attend events, perform acts of community service, or research how your organization can make a positive impact on the Black community and take action!
- Reflect on the significance of Black History Month and the history of Black people.
- Educate yourself & others on topics you’re interested in or knowledgeable about.
Juneteenth: Sent 06/16/2020
As part of our ongoing conversations about Black Lives Matter and the raising of our collective consciousness about racial equality, it is our duty to recognize and honor Juneteenth (June 19th).
“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.”
-Excerpt from Juneteenth.com
In recognition of this historic event, all internal staff members have the option to take the day off as a floating Juneteenth holiday. I recognize taking additional time off may be challenging this year given the late notice and current workload. Therefore, if you cannot take the day off this Friday, June 19th, subject to manager approval, you may take a day off within the next 30 days to honor and reflect upon the ending of slavery in America.
I encourage you to visit the links posted on the Intranet to learn more by reading a book, watching a documentary, listening to a speech, and engaging with us to consider how we can live up to this moment for ourselves and the Black Community. I continue to welcome your partnership on this journey as we seek out ways to continue to better the path of equality, together.
Our Plan: Sent 06/08/2020
Our plans are in their infancy. The first step is starting a group, we referred to this group as an Affinity or Resource Group. The group will have the liberty to explore all meaningful options to help impact the change that is so desperately needed. I will meet with the committee monthly to receive recommendations and insights. In our Town Hall we explored the following as a starting point:
- Conduct additional implicit bias training
- Explore how we can take action in the form of service
- Strengthen our talent acquisition process by enhancing our efforts to reach diverse candidates
- Job Search Training for the Black Community to include
- Salary negotiation
- Resume writing
- Interview prep, coaching and practice
- Outreach campaigns to engage youth through affinity groups, explore internship programs, engage colleges (including Black Fraternities and Sororities)
- Celebrate and engage during Black History Month
- Start a book club on the subject and meet monthly
- Donations and support of organizations like the CA Innocence Project
- Ideally have a speaker from the Innocence Project
There is so much work to do. When it comes time to roll up our sleeves, the entire Eastridge community will be invited to contribute in a meaningful way.
Black Lives Matter: Sent 06/02/2020
Over the past week, I, like all of you, have been struggling with the events unfolding in our country right now. The tragic death of George Floyd, and countless others before him, has hit our society at its very core. The demands for justice and cries for reform are being heard throughout our country and around the world. Issues that have plagued our country for far too long are seeing new light, tragically illuminated by these catastrophic losses.
These words are not easy for me because I so deeply want to get this message right. But my time reflecting this week has led me to believe that right now, it’s not about getting something perfect or having the exact words. It is about no longer staying silent about the injustices happening to black Americans.
I will be spending time listening to the voices of activists, organizers, community leaders, and organizations sharing their messages. I will be reflecting on their teachings to better understand my role in using my voice to actively stand up for racial equality. I am eager to receive your stories, your messages, your thoughts on how as an organization we can use our voices to move forward and effect true and meaningful change in both our workplace and our communities. This won’t be simple. There is no clear path to follow. I will make mistakes and learn from them and grow forward in this process. I encourage you to take this journey with me, to emphatically say that Black Lives Matter.
I am eternally proud of the work we do together, guided by our purpose of providing opportunity and enrichment through work, and our values. I am confident we can use this pivotal moment in time to springboard forward and perpetuate our ability to deliver opportunity and enrichment for all. I will value and depend upon your partnership in the coming days as we look for ways to better ourselves and our company.
I welcome your thoughts and comments regarding what we can improve and what we can do differently. I welcome your community spirit and the family we have created together, as a safe space for hard but necessary conversations. I welcome your partnership on this journey as we seek out ways to move forward to continue to better the path of equality, together.
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