Good Afternoon Team,

In my email on Monday, I made some serious omissions.  Thankfully, a number of our staff members were very brave in confronting me about it.  For this, I am very thankful, and I sincerely apologize.  As you may know, approximately 75% of our staff at Wedge are from minority groups, most of whom are Black.  My message on Monday left many of our Black colleagues feeling unheard, unacknowledged, and unrecognized.  What follows is what I failed to address.

We, as an organization and as individuals, grieve for the continued senseless murders of unarmed Black Americans by White police officers.  The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others demonstrates the extent of institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned violence against Black people; we denounce these persistent patterns of discrimination and violence.  We must find ways to talk more about racism, and to dedicate ourselves to making change occur in our society.  We must recognize that we must work harder to dismantle centuries of systemic racism and inequality within our communities, and within us – for instance, in recognizing microaggressions, and other subtle forms of racism.

We must be united in supporting one another, and especially supporting our Black colleagues.  Please reach out to your fellow staff, offer them your support and express your solidarity.  When we take the opportunity to connect, and immerse ourselves in our colleagues’ experience, culture, and environment, inclusion is possible.  Our team of supervisors and managers will be doing the same by reaching out and setting aside more time for one-on-one support.  To those of you who are already doing so, thank you for setting the example for us.

If anyone needs time to reflect or recharge, to give yourself time to process what you’re feeling, I will offer an additional personal day to any staff who need it, to be used in the month of June.  It can be used all at once, or broken up by the hour.  Please see your supervisor if you want to use this time, so they can arrange adequate coverage.  If anyone is experiencing severe distress and needs more support, please reach out to your supervisor or to Human Resources, and we will work with you to find what help you need.

To all of our Black colleagues:  We see you.  We hear you.  We stand with you.  We will support you.    Black Lives Matter.