There is so much happening in the world right now — some of it unprecedented, as with the current Covid-19 pandemic — and some of it not so new, as with the current illumination of systemic racism by Black members of our communities here and abroad. We felt it was important to reach out and talk about this important issue and what it means to us at the Alzheimer Society.
The good news is that we identified and understood the need to address issues in the development of strategic initiatives within our organization. Knowing it is one thing. Doing something about it is another.
We at the Alzheimer Society have made some progress. But it is not enough. Not yet, anyway.
For us to move forward, in solidarity with those leading the charge, such as community activists with Black Lives Matter, we must admit that systemic racism exists. And it does. We know that not all people have the same access to things that many of us take for granted. And it is time they did.
To be honest, we are not yet sure what the answers are. And we would love your feedback on ways we can do better. Inclusivity — for everyone — is an important issue for us and for our organization. Right now, we have a chance to fully engage with the Black community in their efforts to amplify the message — that they are struggling and need help. Let’s join our voices with theirs to make change.
Here is our commitment to the Black community and to you:
- We will ask others, who know better than we do, what we can do to help fight racism in our organization and Society. Here are some resources we have found so far that have helped frame the issue and highlight some actions we can take:
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Health Alliance
- Canadian Race Relations Foundation
- Canadian Anti-racism Network
- Canadian Anti-hate Network
- We will ask tough questions about our own organization. Do we do enough to ensure that the Black members of our community have the same access to critical supports of the Alzheimer Society as other groups do? If the answer is no, then why not?
- We will open the dialogue with our staff — do they fully understand what the Black Lives Matter movement is trying to achieve and our role in supporting them? Do our own staff feel that our workplace is inclusive of them? If the answer is no, then why not?
- We will add our voices to theirs. It takes everyone to be part of the solution and we will not shy away from tough conversations, tough questions and tough answers.
- We will let you know what we found out and how we plan to address the issues we identify.
It is tragic what we see on the news. And it needs to stop. Organizations, like ours, need to step into the spotlight and say enough is enough. We need to be brave and combat our own beliefs and take risks to do things differently. We are committed to doing so. Systemic racism must stop. It has already been here too long.
We would love to hear your thoughts on how the Alzheimer Society can help. Please feel free to provide your comments and share your ideas here.
Together we can make sure Black Lives Matter.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Alzheimer Society of Toronto
Call me directly: 416-640-6314
Email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org