Open Letter to the Business Community
Our world has been irrevocably changed and our lives dramatically altered over the past few months by the invisible enemy of COVID-19 and the sustaining ravages of racism and social injustice.
As human resource practitioners we reaffirm our beliefs in the gifts of every human being; and to that end we work to reverse the effects of silent intolerance.
While the virus continues to take lives, livelihoods, and liberties from us all; we all struggle with the pain members of our community have suffered far longer as a result of another enemy—an enemy not so invisible—an enemy which also alters lives, causes pain, and creates debilitating anxiety.
This enemy is even more toxic than the coronavirus, and its longevity in our nation suggests no simple vaccine can erase it from our system. This enemy is racism. It is an illness that manifests itself through the symptoms of institutional and structural racism, discrimination, injustice, impoverishment, intolerance, and undeniable blatant violence. It is a disease that once again has seen another major outbreak: through the disproportional impact of COVID on communities of color; to the arbitrary killings of non-threatening black Americans.
These events have a significant impact on the well-being of our community. A threat to any of us is a threat to the freedoms of us all. Our values demand that we call out such injustices, whether they occur in our backyard or in Minnesota, Georgia, or New York.
At Spectrum HR Solutions, we have taken professional oaths that our practice demands—to not tolerate prejudice, bias, or discrimination. Likewise, we cannot be colorblind. We must assert that the diversity of skin color, culture, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and religious beliefs, economic and educational level and social standing combine to strengthen our communities. Regardless of discomfort, we learn and grow as human beings while contributing to a diverse democratic society.
Of course, we are distraught by these events. As a black female business owner—it is not enough to be distraught. Anger is not action. I write to condemn racism and prejudice in all its forms, visible and hidden. Racism has no home to breed here in our organization, community or in the work we provide for our clients.
The work of equity, inclusion, and diversity are and will continue to be our life’s work for our associates, clients, and local community. Spectrum HR Solutions leads in diversity and inclusion education and trainings. Organizing events like the Diversity Inclusion Symposium for Leaders sponsored by the Howard County Human Resources Society and supported by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce in 2019 occur so that businesses have an opportunity to discuss ways to thoughtfully developing inclusive cultural practices that educate and change behavior. Still more must be done as we work together to become the inclusive community we all envision. The work is ongoing.
Spectrum HR Solutions’ role as a leader in our community compels us to extend our influence on our partners as well. We are committed to extending the values by serving as a contributing member of the community. We will work with business partners to address their direct relationships with our clients as well. It is imperative that our communities feel safe because the safety of our associate, clients and their employees remain our top priority.
Finally, we may wear a mask to stop coronavirus, but responding to racism and prejudice requires us each to remove our masks, to look deep in the mirror, and to reflect on our underlying assumptions and beliefs. Together, we can heal from both the ravages of the COVID virus and the deep viral infections of racism. Let us hold each other accountable and remember to recognize the D.I.Y. – Diversity In You.
Brenda McChriston, CEO
Spectrum HR Solutions