We all have now seen countless CEOs issue some sort of statement expressing support for the current equality movement in the US. I sincerely hope the driving force behind this trend is the authentic desire for change and not simply political expediency. At Family Resource, we first focused our attention on internal messages of support and reaffirmation of our values to our staff, many of whom identify as minorities.
Equality is an important issue in the Home Care industry. According to a study conducted in 2017, approximately 51% of caregivers in the US were either Hispanic or African American. Family Resource Home Care mirrors this statistic at 52%. The quality of a person who works as a professional caregiver cannot be understated. This job can be challenging, and it pays better in the heart than it does in the wallet. Those who are willing to do it – and even more so, passionate about doing it – are, by definition, extraordinary people. For the impact they have on their clients and our communities, they merit respect, dignity, equality, compassion, and kindness. Therefore, standing up for these values comes easily to our company.
What isn’t so easy is making a real impact on the issue of systematic racism by ourselves. As I tried to identify ways to support change and I researched resources, ideas, points of view, and available information, what stood out the most was the effectiveness and impact that education opportunities can have. Many of the stories and programs that I read about greatly benefited individuals with limited access to many of the privileges that others can easily take for granted. These stories were highly individual and impacted individual lives. They were stories about how, by providing support to attain better education and opportunity, individuals rose to become the first in their family to attend college, earn better wages, and achieve dreams that were thought to be out of reach.
The power of these stories about supporting educational programs for minorities resonated deeply with me. Perhaps it’s because they are closely matched to what makes Home Care so impactful – it lifts and enriches the lives of so many – yet one at a time – thanks to its personal and individualized approach. Here is where I identified my opportunity to make a difference on this issue – by lifting one at a time. We can say that we believe that lives matter – and they do – but it is better to demonstrate it beyond just words by doing something tangible. Our company is supporting organizations that support access to education for black Americans as well as launching our own scholarship for our minority caregivers.
I’m also embracing dignity, respect, and love with regard to this issue as I believe these values are so much more influential than their opposites in achieving change. I recently shared with our staff, “Racism in any form has no place in our society. We hold strong in our commitment to equal opportunity employment and condemn racism and discrimination, wherever it may be. We also acknowledge that ‘oneness’ does not have to mean ‘sameness’ and, in fact, diversity makes us better and helps us work more effectively! We champion differences and should lift each other up in every way that we can.”
I fully believe in these words and we invite everyone to identify ways they can lift others, celebrate, and become comfortable with diversity. Let’s leave our comfort zones and seek to better understand other cultures and perspectives so we may build upon common and uncommon foundations and create strength in our diversity! It is truly time that we take the dream of Dr. King and help make it a reality. We can all look to that reality with great anticipation, but only through participation. Here at Family Resource, we have, and we invite others to join us in doing so.