Nullifying the long-standing racism in our society is imperative for us all. Racism is poisonous, and its effects are real, pervasive, and traumatic. Systemic racism is not beyond our control, but it is ever-present in our society. The Covid-19 pandemic doesn’t stop it. The addiction epidemic doesn’t stop it. Both of these have disproportionately impacted people of color, and both of these exposes and reveals our racism. Racism is not something that can be delayed, nor can it be postponed for another day to address—it is a constant. White supremacy does not shelter in place, and anti-blackness does not take vacations.
Change is necessary. Author Ta-Nahisi Coates recently wrote that what we are experiencing opens a new window—“An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.”
As the leadership of Ben & Jerry’s recently wrote, “We do not have an option to look away. No one and not for any of us. Every citizen, every politician, and every company must do its part to look at the truth without flinching. In that way, together, we’ll continue the fight for a more just and equitable country.” I echo these sentiments, and my heart aches for what we are observing and living—we can and must not let this continue.
Diversity is the mixture of individuals in society, while inclusion is allowing that mixture to exist and work well together. Diversity recognizes that everyone is different. Some differences people are born with and cannot be changed. Other differences are adopted as part of our unique identity. Inclusion is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized.
Gaudenzia was inclusive since its beginnings in 1968 and will continue to embrace diversity, inclusion, and all of humanity today and into the future.
Dale Klatzker, PhD
President and CEO