"We must recognize that freedom has never been the same for all. Despite the unprecedented challenges we are facing as we navigate a global pandemic, the fight against racial injustice cannot be placed on the back burner."
PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAFCU
Written on July 8, 2020
As we come off the heels of celebrating another Independence Day, we must recognize that freedom has never been the same for all. Despite the unprecedented challenges we are facing as we navigate a global pandemic, the fight against racial injustice cannot be placed on the back burner.
No amount of days, weeks or months passing is enough to remedy, rectify or heal the level of pain and suffering that hundreds of years of racism has inflicted on the Black community.
Even so, that is not an excuse to do nothing.
It is our duty, especially for those of us who are CEOs, leaders and policymakers, to make sure we take action within our communities, our schools, and our companies. We must make pronouncements against hate and we must do so unequivocally and everywhere we see it, not just when men and women are unjustifiably killed or when acts of hate are captured on camera.
Our nation is strongest when we stand together, united. It is imperative we fight against the temptation to blame, to scapegoat, to point the finger and single out any one people, regardless of our economic conditions or societal prospects. We must be a society of accountability. That means all of us must hold ourselves accountable to live the very best lives we possibly can, and to hold ourselves (and others) accountable when we engage in racist and discriminatory behaviors that bring down our peers.
We must be kind and brave. The brave actions of thousands of people have the power to move mountains. It is not enough to simply say that we believe in diversity and inclusion, or that we are not racist. As the African American Credit Union Coalition’s new initiative states, all of us must commit to change if we want to see change.
That’s why my association is doubling down on raising funds and awareness for diversity and inclusion efforts within the credit union industry. We are putting our money where our mouth is and backing the people and groups who will lead us in bringing about change. At NAFCU, we believe credit unions have a particular role to play.
If this is your first time stepping into the arena of fighting racism, don’t be afraid. There is no perfect way to navigate the complexities of our history, but doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Take the time to become educated on the many prominent Black and non-white leaders and organizations who have been fighting for equality for decades and centuries. Taking it a step further: Don’t speak for them; ask them to speak to you and your staff about equality and how we can go about achieving it today. Change begins with all of us.
President and CEO
National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions