May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people.
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace
May God bless you with tears,
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war.
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world.
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
– A Franciscan Blessing
On Friday, November 19th, 2021, a “not guilty on all counts” verdict related to Kyle Rittenhouse was announced to the world. This verdict reopened wounds for many and reminded us that justice seems out of reach and many times not just for people of color. It is clear, we still have a long way to go in achieving a racially just and equitable society. This verdict, while extremely disappointing, is not an anomaly. In addition, there are a variety of opinions and feelings about the verdict.
Board of Child Care stands with and by our colleagues of color. You have our support, our voice, our empathy, and our action. We will use our power, platform, and privilege to lead meaningful, strategic, and systemic change at BCC. We will change what we can and know that making a place where everyone in our BCC experiences a healthy culture where each of us can engage with joy and purpose is one of our most important challenges. We will use our empathy skills to seek first to understand and work hard to find common ground in our rich diversity at BCC.
Coping as a Community
Speak up when you experience or witness intolerance, mistreatment, or bias in action. No matter what the issue, say something. If you don’t know what to say, start by asking, “What did you mean by that?” Listen, then respond calmly based on facts. Saying nothing when such instances arise condones the discrimination or microaggression. Here’s a powerful and short clip on microaggressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450.
Create an inclusive environment for everyone. Seek different perspectives and respect points of view and communication styles that are different from your own. Don’t know how to talk about race? The National Museum on African American History and Culture offers a great resource – check it out here: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race.
Process your feelings. Disappointments like this can feel traumatizing, especially for members of marginalized groups. Talking to your supervisor, in teams, with friends and loved ones can help. BCC also makes mental health resources available for times when you may need more support through an Employee Assistance Program.
Flex Our Core Value of EMPATHY. Seek first to understand, as there may be differences of opinion. Try to stand in your colleagues’ shoes to understand what support they might need to feel community and belonging at BCC.
We can only heal and grow better together by listening and learning, by having courageous conversations, and by cultivating a trusting environment where all people feel safe, respected, and empowered to voice their ideas, thoughts, and concerns. When we behave this way, we can set an example for our communities in the Mid-Atlantic. We need to do better—and we can.
Laurie Anne “LA” Spagnola
President & CEO