June 3, 2020
Today I want to share my thoughts about the unrest we’re currently seeing in our country. As the recent days, weeks, months, and years have shown us, the underlying tensions around racial injustice continue to exist in our country and have shaken many of us to our core. People of all cultures and backgrounds are coming together to demand change. As an organization, we demand it too.
My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family, and to all those who have been treated unjustly. On Monday, George’s brother called for peace and to address the injustice in different ways. During this troubling time, I also think back to what Maya Angelou once said, “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world but it has not solved one yet.”
We are aware of the conflict between what is happening in the broader communities where we operate and our work towards workplace justice. For four years, we have engaged efforts around “Just Culture.” This work helps us console and forgive those who inadvertently trespass upon others in the organization and recognizes the inherent imperfection of the human condition. However, and most importantly, our Just Culture journey is guided by an uncompromising commitment to accountability that addresses reckless or purposefully ill intended behaviors of any kind. Our Just Culture does not tolerate actions or behaviors motivated by an intent to lessen others because of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation or identity or any other factor inherent to their human condition.
At Asbury, you can bring your whole self to work. We are an organization that promotes love, and caring and, most importantly, we welcome all. Here, you are free to be you. And I hope that the way we go about our days in serving others and welcoming each other with open arms, will be an example – even if indirectly – for our country’s path to ending racism. As Asbury associates we have come together, displaying how deep our connection is as an extended family. We are here for each other and that is more apparent now than ever before.
I’m sure that you, like me, are angered or pained at what’s happening and are struggling to find the right words to express what you’re feeling, and balancing that reality with hope and optimism that change is indeed coming. Unfortunately, this painful past is still very real in our society today. We are all people, and we all deserve to be treated equally. That’s our commitment to you, as Asbury associates, and we know it’s your commitment to each other and to those we serve.
As you know, Asbury’s founding in 1926 was represented by a close tie with the Methodist Church. We continue to build upon and expand our organization’s original faith-based commitment to serving others. We were guided then, and still today, by the words of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Wesley believed that a satisfying spiritual experience could not survive apart from service to mankind. As Asbury associates, we live this commitment to service with the work we put forth every day. For some of you, this service to others may even extend beyond your role as an associate. If you feel a need to expand your service to the larger community to help deal with this societal issue, then I encourage you to do so. Or maybe it is making sure you take a moment to tap into your faith to pray, such as Asbury Methodist Village associates Lauren Sims and Natesha Williams who called for a collective gathering Monday for associates to pray and worship. I encourage you to find time to do something similar if you feel the need, and to reach out to your community’s Pastoral Care department if that will help. Health Advocate also has several resources to help in dealing with civil unrest. Whatever it is, please know that we are here to support you.
We hope and pray that one day systemic racism will be dismantled. The time to help heal and find togetherness is now.
Thank you for choosing Asbury to be your extended family. Please continue to be safe, stay strong in the face of these challenges and, please, continue to be an example for what is good about our country.
President & CEO