We are living in extraordinarily difficult times that raise uncomfortable, yet critically important, questions about ourselves and our country: how we treat each other, how we are protected from harm, and how we live together.
The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others named and unnamed, pain our hearts and our minds. Our emotions of sadness, frustration, anger, fear, rage, and hopelessness stem from a spectrum of issues, ranging from not knowing where to begin to solve the problem to facing the danger of being a Black person in America.
We can find guidance for meeting today’s challenges by reflecting on the principles that PEP was founded upon: democracy, equality, mutual respect, empathic understanding, cooperation, and encouragement. By purposefully broadening our efforts, we can be part of the solution. Yet it will take courage to think of our roles differently and ready ourselves to act, because as Alfred Adler said, “It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”
We stand in solidarity with the Black community and communities of color. We are listening. And, we are ready to act. We know the road to change is bumpy, and we also know that inaction out of fear of making a misstep is worse – as we say at PEP, we must embrace “the courage to be imperfect.”
Here is what we can say now. PEP will:
- Provide guidance to parents on how to talk with their children about race. We will host webinars for families seeking guidance on how to listen, reflect, and guide our children when talking about racism. View PEP’s list of suggested resources on talking about race and racism with your children.
- More widely promote reflective listening and “seeking to understand before being understood.” As we widen our outreach to work with more diverse partners, we will consciously align our programs and practices to more effectively communicate across cultures.
- Approach change holistically, both internally and externally. We will hold ourselves to a new standard of inclusion in our programmatic work and at all levels of the organization.
As Adler said, “to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another” is the essence of developing a spirit of social interest. We stand here now ready to listen, learn and evolve.
Kathy Hedge, PEP Executive Director
Susan Milner, PEP Board President
Pascale Brady, PEP Board Vice-President