For most of my life I have stood alongside people with intellectual disabilities and autism who have long been marginalized, forgotten, and not afforded the same opportunities as those around them. I have dedicated my career to ensuring that their voices are heard. Moreover, I have been keenly aware and troubled about discrimination in all forms. One of the values of InVision Human Services is that all human beings are treated with dignity and respect. Those are not simply words, but rather the core of everything we are.
Like the rest of the world, I have been horrified by the images of George Floyd’s life being taken from him. The fact that his name is now added to the long list of men and women who have lost their lives simply because of the color of their skin is a disgrace. Our nation is being ripped apart by example after example of systemic racism. We cannot begin to heal until we face the long history of social injustice against the black community. The resulting anger and pain are justified, and I support those who take to the streets and peacefully protest and demonstrate for justice and change.
I know that we alone cannot solve racism, and that no communication will heal what has happened. Real change comes from each of us through self-reflection, commitment, and a willingness to challenge the status quo. If we are to be true to our values as an organization, we must be part of the solution. Discussions are already underway to bring in third-party experts to help us navigate through these issues. They will review and make recommendations on our culture, policies, programs, and values as they relate to the experiences of our black employees. We will hold ourselves to a higher standard.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a level of fear and uncertainty, the likes of which our nation has not experienced since World War II. The events over the last week have only intensified those feelings. While I do not know what tomorrow brings, I do know one thing to be true – we are a family – a family of compassionate and devoted people. We take care of one another and find common ground, in good times and in bad. Through all of this, our focus on providing the highest level of care for the people we support has not wavered. That is the truest testament of your dedication to them and each other. No individual, family, or organization is perfect, including InVision, and as we look to the weeks and months ahead there will continue to be hardships and challenges. However, I am confident that if we work together and we are honest and open in our efforts, there is nothing that we cannot overcome.