Black Lives Matter
AAFCPAs Open Letter (6.5.2020):
Hello AAFCPAs Family,
I write this letter with a heart that is hurting for George Floyd’s family, and for those families of too many other black individuals who have been victims of senseless acts; and with anger over the violence and looting happening during protests designed to fight for the rights of others.
I feel an immense sense of obligation to do more. More to help all of you. More to help our clients. More to help educate myself, my society, and affect change. I have found myself immersed in reading as much information as possible, trying to understand why change hasn’t happened and, more importantly, what WE can do to create a safe environment for all.
The other day, my 16-year-old daughter asked, “Mom, why are white people killing black people?” This gave me pause. We have done our best to raise our children in a house that values everyone equally, without bias and without regard to the color of their skin. But, until now, we had yet to have the difficult conversation of racism, the discussion of challenges black individuals face in our country, and address the inherent privilege that we have simply by being white. My husband and I immediately sat our children down, and we wish we had done this sooner. The delay in this conversation is not a luxury afforded to black children, many of whom are taught this reality at an alarmingly young age.
I shared a post with them from my friend Kimberly Ellison Taylor where she talks about having to give her sons “The Talk…” Not about the birds and bees, but about how others might perceive them, and precautions they need to take every day as a black person living in America. She shared a picture of her ‘proud mama moment’ with her son in CMU hoodies (Carnegie Mellon University), that was quickly overshadowed by her warning to “never wear the hood up.” This is not a conversation white people have, nor have to worry about. As I look at my son freely walking around wearing his hoodie, it breaks my heart that another mother would see the same thing and fear for her son’s life.
No matter how uncomfortable it may be for some to admit, the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and so many others is affecting our black colleagues most. They show up every day, while hiding their fear, sadness, and rage. Please know, if you want to talk, I will listen. If there is anything I can do to help you heal, I will try. I have been encouraged by black colleagues to encourage team members to reach out to them and check in. They are not o.k. Please read the article by Danielle Cadet entitle “Your Black Colleagues May Look Like they’re Okay – Chances Are They’re Not.” You may feel you don’t know what words to use, but simply admit that and your outreach will be appreciated—and you may even learn something new.
I will not be silent or afraid to tackle the topics of Racism and Unconscious Bias. AAFCPAs will continue to invest in diversity, inclusion, and equality initiatives to ensure that all members of the firm know their responsibility to ensure no person is treated differently because of their skin, race, religion or gender. I will continue to work with our D&I Committee to determine what actions are needed to ensure all feel supported and heard.
To aid you in the fight for justice, AAFCPAs will authorize leave requests, as needed, to enable you to attend a Black Lives Matter protest.
- We believe, there is no room for racism.
- We are in dire need of change.
- We do not de-value the lives of others AND we support the primary perspectives of Black Lives Matter.
- We support law enforcement AND want accountability for those who abuse their power.
- We believe that Protestors are Protesting. Looters are Looting.
None of us are Free, until all of us are Free.
In order to be agents of change, we must all act. Action may look different for everyone, but it must start now. Let’s talk to each other, check-in on one another, take the time to educate one another, and, most importantly, ALL do our part to eradicate racism and violence against black people.
Carla McCall, CPA, CGMA