These past two weeks have been very difficult for Minnesotans. We are all struggling to understand the senseless and unjust murder of George Floyd and the conditions that exist that allowed that violence to take place. It is hard to know what our responsibility is as an employer and a healthcare provider in the face of such blatant hatred and discrimination.
Everyone at RSI has probably seen the discrimination that people with disabilities experience in our culture. The people we serve face this in our own communities. As caregivers and advocates, we are asked to stand up and speak out on their behalf. All of us have the responsibility to do what we can to end intolerance and injustice. This responsibility extends to everyone who suffers discrimination due to the color of their skin, national origin, sexuality, gender identity, religion, age, and family structure.
None of us can be silent when we see racial injustice. Racism is a long-standing part of discrimination and has created suffering and pain that many of us do not fully understand. Our country’s painful past includes hundreds of years of the type of violence we all witnessed in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. There are systems and structures in our country that feed disparities and discrimination. Laws change and promises are made yet equality and justice continue to escape communities of color.
When people experience fewer educational and economic opportunities and more health inequities just because of the color of their skin, our whole community suffers. The cost may not be as personal as it is for those who experience it firsthand, but there is still a cost. We all need to respond to that injustice by doing whatever we can to stand up for one another and be part of creating better outcomes.
Being different, whether it is because of the color of your skin or a disability should be seen as an asset to any organization and community. Appreciating our differences, and not just accepting them, will lead to a richer and stronger community for everyone.
Please look for ways you can help bring justice to marginalized people. It is needed now more than ever. RSI will also be looking and listening to our employees about what we can do better. We understand that there is much more work to be done in our communities, nationally, and within our own organization. RSI must examine our own place in these unbalanced systems, elevate and uplift the voices of our employees and the people we serve who experience discrimination, and we must put a plan in place to make sure we are doing more to create equitable, inclusive, and safe working and living spaces for people of color.