A Letter from BCC’s President & CEO
“Compassion asks for us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish. Compassion means the full immersion of being human.” ~ Henri Nouwen.
To the communities BCC serves, our staff, and stakeholders,
I am disgusted and appalled at the murder of Mr. George Floyd. This past week’s events, and the unfathomable pattern they are a part of, have made me realize that we are often silent on the racial injustice and discrimination that my colleagues and friends face every day. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Freddie Gray and countless others reinforce the brutal truth that the African American community still remains vulnerable and subjected to senseless acts of violence. Not talking openly about racism allows it to grow in the shadows and helps seed the horrific events we witness.
Time and again I begin my all staff messages with our purpose statement: enriching communities, one family at a time. At BCC, we cannot fulfill our purpose statement without taking a stand against police brutality and racism. Through this lens, I am looking at our own community and the hurt and fear many are experiencing. As a broad and diverse organization that spans many states, cultures and communities, I realize that any message I post will be interpreted differently by each person because we bring our own set of perspective and lived experience. At the Board of Child Care – we must begin talking about racism that effects all of us.
This is a moment to care for and listen to one another, and to create intentional spaces for critical conversations about the role and sources of systemic racism in our own BCC community, our neighborhoods, States, regions and our country and to commit to solving them. It is imperative to create a process for critical racial and diversity conversations at BCC.
To this end, BCC is building upon the revolutionary work of its internal LGBTQ+ committee and refining as expanding it to embrace Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The Senior Leadership Team learned about the EDI committee in March just before COVID-19 began our collective immersion into our “new normal.”
The EDI committee will consist of colleagues from across the agency that serve in a variety of roles. It will be a forum for important dialogue that generates problem solving and new ways of doing things that allows for recovering and healing at BCC. The EDI committee will help BCC learn how to create opportunities for conversations and interactions to allow for understanding appreciation of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. I stress here I will not rely on a committee to solve the huge social issue of racism, nor will it be the end of BCC’s efforts. Like so many this week, however, I feel a sense of urgency to get started immediately and this is a mechanism I can activate quickly and build momentum from.
The EDI Committee will facilitate an informed conversation and thoughtful strategy around diversity and inclusion. The strategy to be developed will include considerations and plans such as:
- Develop an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion pledge that declares the vision of BCC related to progress in this area of focus
- Continue building psychological safety that promotes dialogue about racism and social injustices
- Develop a cohesive EDI strategy and establish workable goals that may include things like:
- Working with Human Resources to review and updating the policies and procedures of BCC so that all diversities are included
- Establish days to celebrate and learn about our differences and similarities
- Provide helpful consultation to Senior Leaders when managing the challenges of our diverse workforce
- Influence and/or deliver training topics and content to improve our ability to interact with different cultures, becoming and being aware of one’s own cultural views and biases, develop tolerance for cultural differences and building cross-cultural skills across the workplace (orientation, ongoing education, Leadership and management academy, training requirements)
- Influence the themes of the Wellness calendar to focus on diversity
As CEO, I will actively participate as a member of these efforts in the pursuit of an environment at BCC where there is equity, diversity and inclusion. An environment that we all – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, religious beliefs, disability or age – can engage fully at BCC with joy and purpose in our special work.
Our BCC community is hurting. To that end, specific internal resources have been provided to staff. For the general public reading this message, I urge you to take a moment and be aware of your own bias. Take the implicit bias test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/index.jsp
We will stumble and make mistakes in this journey. No doubt, we won’t get it right each time, but we will learn from our mistakes, like we do now, and learn and grow each time. I am eager to begin to face racism and injustices with you to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive BCC community. Together.
Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO