June 2, 2020 –
Dear Aspiring White Allies:
As we are sure you are aware, there has been a large and appropriate response to the murder of Black Americans by police officers taking place over the last several days. Our Black neighbors live in fear every second of every day that their name will be the next that needs to be remembered. That their child may be the next Black citizen murdered in the streets by people who swore to protect them.
As directors of sexual assault programs, you have a responsibility to Black employees to openly and loudly affirm that they are safe at work from racism and discrimination. It is critical to convey a message vehemently opposing and condemning the actions of the police officer in
Minneapolis who murdered George Floyd in cold blood, along with the hundreds who went before him. Their lives have been traumatized repeatedly and yet they are expected to show up at work every day with a positive attitude and consistent productivity that benefits all employees of your program.
How can you address this with your employees? Ignoring it is not an option. We do a deep disservice to ourselves by turning a blind eye and pretending that these events aren’t impacting all of us, particularly our Black employees and their families. We ask these questions because we care deeply about the people who work in the anti-sexual violence field. We have a responsibility and we must stay true to our values. If your program is truly a great place to work, as leaders we must continue to prove it. Our employees deserve this, our culture deserves this.
As advocates, how are we helping our Black colleagues or survivors we work with? What resources have we offered them? Have we contacted every single one of them, asking what they need from us, how we can support them? Please also remember when reaching out not to burden our black colleagues/friends/survivors with our feelings about the recent events as those are conversations to have with other aspiring allies. As aspiring white allies, are we reminding ourselves that inherent bias runs deep and that we are each responsible for unlearning racism?
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. As we said last week, while we do not hold ourselves out as experts in this work we are committed to joining together with other aspiring white allies to deepen our commitment to anti-racism work.
Aspiring White Allies at WCASA