Our Collective Responsibility

By: Markham McIntyre Posted: 06/01/2020

We cannot have an inclusive, equitable region when violence, hate and discrimination persist. Black Lives Matter.

Like many of you, I watched the news this weekend as thousands of people gathered in solidarity to grieve George Floyd, honor his memory, and call for justice and accountability.

Black lives matter. Our Black friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues matter, and so does their ability to live safely and securely in our country. The sadness, anger, and outrage at the gap between that basic right and our current reality is justifiable. The imperative for us to act to erase this gap has never been more urgent.

We cannot have an inclusive, equitable region when violence, hate and discrimination persist. As I mentioned in my message on Friday, as employers, Chamber members have a platform to build a community that is stronger, more equitable, and more resilient than before.

Some of you have astutely asked what that means in practice. In the next few weeks, we are hosting listening sessions with our minority-owned businesses and minority board members to ensure that their insights and experiences inform the basis of how we move forward. We are also creating a pillar in our economic recovery plan dedicated to the success of minority-owned business.

This is not the beginning of our work, nor is it the end, and I invite you to share how you and your organizations are doing this work as well.

This past weekend, we also saw property damage around our region, including damage to Chamber members’ locations, that makes reopening and getting people back to work more difficult. We do not excuse this and I’m heartened by community members who came together to help clean up.

I hope we will be mindful that the people involved in this damage represent a fraction of the people who showed up to speak out this weekend. Let’s not reduce meaningful days of protest and a call for change into headlines about damage and destruction. Let’s also keep in mind that the lives of people come first. It is worth repeating: Black lives matter.

June 5, 2020: In addition to our message above, we'd like to share these resources:

What You Can Do

Dialogue and discussions are one part of the solution. Another is action. Below are resources to support work toward racial justice and economic empowerment of our Black community.  

Further Reading