Members of the extended CIC Community,
We at CIC share in the anger, anguish, and frustration we are seeing on display in protests happening all over the world in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd. His death underscores a long history of racially motivated brutality, especially at the hands of law enforcement. I am heartened by the depth and extent of the public engagement, by people of all backgrounds, in finding ways to put a stop to this. We at CIC support the various ways in which people are showing their solidarity around the world.
WE BELIEVE THAT THIS ISN’T SOMEONE ELSE’S PROBLEM TO FIX.
It is ours. My hope is that we find in this pain the catalyst to push all of us to act to change the systems that created this situation. The onus is on us to look at the ways in which we contribute to, benefit from, and perpetuate racist structures. This is both in society at large, and within our own organizations.
Someone recently put it this way: if you are walking down the street, and see a child being abused, it is not enough to say “I don’t abuse children.” If you see someone being bullied, it is not enough to say “I don’t bully.” We each have a responsibility to act to eliminate these behaviors from our society. Within CIC we have started to do this more formally with our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives since the beginning of last year, and we plan to continue looking critically at ourselves to understand how our behavior could lead to change.
WE FEEL THAT WE AT CIC MUST REDEDICATE OURSELVES TO OUR COMMITMENT TO BEING A PLACE OF BELONGING AND INCLUSION FOR ALL.
We talk a lot about “community” at CIC. Safety is the most basic and important function of a community. These are easy words to say, but there is power in doing it. It is in fostering a community of high values, and in doing the hard work to uphold, protect, and teach those values every day. It is in asking ourselves to search for our own blind spots, to question our assumptions, acknowledge our privilege, and act to make better choices.
At CIC, we have been engaged over the past year in a deep process of self-reflection on these matters. We sought input from every staff member, full time and part time, and heard from about 75% of our 300+ member team. We also invited over a third of our staff members to hold confidential one-on-one conversations with Tammy Dowley-Blackman, an experienced outside advisor on matters of race and equity, with the goal of making sure we really heard everyone’s thoughts. We gathered together a statistical picture of our diversity across numerous dimensions within each of our locations. Under the leadership of Tammy and our Chief People Officer, Vanessa Brown, we have begun to report our findings to each layer of management in the company. This is only the beginning of our work aimed at introspection, adjustment, and improvement. This will lead to action, and further introspection in a cycle that we expect will be part of CIC forever.
For those of you who showed solidarity through protests, donations, or policy advocacy (to name a few), thank you. We are only as good as our ability to hold ourselves and our communities accountable for the role we play in supporting racism and racist systems. I challenge all of us to look at the ways that we unwittingly contribute to racial injustice and the culture of passivity that killed George Floyd and countless others.
We are in the midst of troubling and painful times. At moments like these the strength of our character, values, and willingness to promote change are what we must rely upon to cope and find a meaningful path forward.
Please stay safe.
Founder & CEO, CIC