No matter your political beliefs, this contentious election season has taken a toll on all of us. The last 18 months have exposed deep divisions in our country and have reminded us how important it is to remain committed to our work of creating an equitable and inclusive community where everyone has access to opportunity and is treated fairly and with respect.
Unfortunately, in these early days following the election, we are seeing more signs and actions of hate in our community. There are many reports of students of color being told by their white peers, “now they will have to leave the country.” Chants and racial slurs on school busses and college campuses have been reported, and members of our LGBTQ community have been told they are no longer wanted here.
The result of the election is no excuse for intolerance, hate and bigotry. All of us deserve the opportunity to go to school, work, and live in a community where we feel valued and safe. Each of us must ensure that our community is inclusive and values diversity.
We need to challenge the long-standing inequities that exist in the systems and organizations that serve our community. As long as there are wide gaps between diverse groups in academic achievement, economic opportunity, and even access to basic needs like housing and healthcare, we will not achieve our full potential as a community. We will not have the workforce we need and thriving neighborhoods we all desire. We all need to take crucial steps to bring our community together to ensure equitable treatment for everyone and reduce inequality, intolerance and hate—in all its forms. We need your participation, support and empathy.
Over this past week, I was encouraged by the steadfast and determined mindset from partners, colleagues and friends as we work to move forward. I am committed to helping align resources and expertise to help our community navigate the road ahead.
More than ever, I feel the importance of this difficult and challenging work, and how crucial it is to helping our community move forward to heal, take a stand against hate and intolerance, and build a resilient community and region.
I am proud to be working alongside all of you in this important work.