Racism in the United States is not a new problem: it goes back hundreds of years. The very founding of America as we know it today is bound up in twin “original sins”: our nation was built on stolen land by enslaved people. For a short period of time after the victories of the original Civil Rights Movement some folks hid their racism, maybe out of shame — but no longer. Racist violence and hate crimes have spiked since the last presidential election (link to Brookings). Racism is deeply embedded in our society, and it is killing people. And it seems as if we have hit another tipping point. At least I hope it is a tipping point.
Protesting in the United States is something we hold dear, and is guaranteed by our Constitution. We have the right to protest, to show our displeasure with our Government, our disappointment with the management of our society. Protest is the way many changes have occurred in this nation of ours, and how the Civil Rights Movement was launched. Continuing in the tradition of the Civil Rights Movement, the Movement for Black Lives is launching the latest wave in the fight for justice. The harassment and murder of Black people has got to end.
It seems that right now many white people want to announce that they are not racist. But, there we go, not stopping to think about our natural and ingrained bias, and positions of privilege we/I as a white person occupy simply by the color of our/my skin. When was the last time you actually feared that you as a white person, might be murdered when you were pulled over by the police? Sure, you were nervous about getting a ticket, but getting murdered never crossed your mind, did it? I have to start admitting that I have a bias, that I am not a perfect supporter of my friends of color. I try to be, but I cannot fully put myself in their shoes. I can only consciously choose to do better. And that is what we at Horizons Sustainable Financial Services are going to do.
Today we issue our Statement of Solidarity:
As a nation, a company, and as white individuals, we have been asleep at the wheel for far too long. We all have prospered in silence on the backs of people of color, and we at Horizons Sustainable Financial Services a white owned company, are choosing to do better and to be silent no longer. It is my commitment, as the CEO of Horizons Sustainable Financial Services, to make this organization an anti-racist firm. We begin today by educating ourselves about the Black Lives Matter Movement and other anti-racist organizations. We have begun making a list of concrete initiatives — both personal and corporate — which will be implemented by June 1, 2021.
You have my word on these action steps. Please hold me to account on this, by contacting me by email at Kim@HorizonsSFS.com, with questions, comments, suggestions and any information you may have to help in this process, or how I have or we have failed you or our BIPOC community members in and outside this organization. I promise to listen and respond immediately. This is now our #1 institutional policy and priority. It is my personal belief that Black lives matter.… No one should fear for their life because of the color of their skin. I am ashamed of this moment in our society and I want to do whatever it takes to be a part of changing this broken system. We will seek out accountability as a company, and for myself on a personal level and will listen to the voices from communities of color. I am committing to continuing my education and learning more about systemic racism and myself in the process.
Horizons Sustainable Financial Services believes #BlackLivesMatter