Our National CEO, David Williams, released a statement about the persistent acts of racism in our country that have recently gained national attention. In unity with our organization’s stance, I also want to explain the work we are doing at a local level and our commitment to doing more.
The brilliant writer Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can. Then when you know better, do better.” The senseless murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor—merely the latest in a far-too-long list of Black people who did not deserve to die—has awakened a desire in this nation and our community. Justice must be done, and we must be a part of ensuring that it does.
I joined Genesys Works because I wanted to counter the institutionalized racism and injustice that I saw negatively impacting the future of Black and brown youth in America. I am proud of the work we have done to equip and empower our students to achieve career success and a lifetime of economic self-sufficiency. Yet, with every intern we send out into the corporate workforce, I know we’re not doing enough. Every day we see evidence that our society does not value Black lives as it should, and that our youth of color face discrimination in the workplace and abuse at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.
As a white person and leader in this work, it is incumbent upon me to stop asking why this is happening and to take action. Genesys Works is uniquely positioned to recruit and involve others in this fight to drive true and lasting change. To that end, I ask the many corporate and community partners who support the mission and vision of Genesys Works to join me.
As an organization, we must incorporate an ethos of anti-racism into our everyday work and pursuit of equity for our students. In order to truly address the opportunity gap, we must also confront and address all of the root causes, including racism in the workplace.
We will start by taking the following actions:
- Engage with our corporate partners to provide tangible support, including tools and training, as they work to build more inclusive workplaces;
- Amplify the voices of our Black and brown staff, students, and alumni;
- Implement best practices in our workplace that empower our people to actively identify and oppose inequities and racism;
- Establish a diverse, board-level task force with involvement from staff and students, to define, implement, and monitor specific inclusion criteria across the organization;
- Increase diversity in our leadership and board to better represent the students and communities we serve.
George Floyd will be buried in Houston tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. I have given my staff the day off to mourn his death and reflect on how we will honor him going forward, and I encourage you to do the same. My personal commitment is to remain open and teachable about my role in this fight, and I welcome your feedback and input. I look forward to collaborating with all of our partners to build a better Houston, one that truly values the life of every individual.
Katherine Taylor, Executive Director, Genesys Works Houston