By: Carrie Fox, Mission Partners CEO
I want to share with you a little something that I re-read over the weekend:
“I still think climate change is the greatest public health threat we have. The thing that keeps me up at night is the infectious disease threat that we don’t see coming…the most significant terrorist that we have is Mother Nature.”
That was Dr. Georges Benjamin speaking to Modern Healthcare in 2017, well before COVID-19 entered our consciousness. And here we are, three years later, deep in the attack that he and many others anticipated would come.
It’s not much different from many of the other issues we find ourselves wrapped up in today. For example, systemic racism is hardly a new issue; it’s just one that our society has been hitting the “snooze button” on for hundreds of years.
As we enter this fifth intense month of COVID, with as much uncertainty about our future as we had back in March, I empathize with each one of you—whether you are a parent, business owner, or community leader; a teacher or a student; an employee or someone who has recently faced furlough or layoffs. There’s nothing about now that’s clear or concrete.
But one thing’s for sure; some of the greatest innovations in history have come in moments of crisis. However we are seen post-COVID-19 will be defined by how we show up during COVID-19. As we near the fall, as schools scramble to determine feasible and safe solutions, as election officials determine how best to ensure we get out to vote, I am doubling down on three things: humanity, equity, and civility.
- Humanity: As a friend said to me in a tough moment recently, we all just have to give each other some grace. There is so much turmoil going on around us that there’s just no way that we can continue with things as usual. We’re being asked to do things that would previously have been considered impossible. We can get through this, but only if we put our humanity first.
- Equity: As we, at Mission Partners, dig deeper into our commitment to build a racially just and inclusive workplace, we began last week in earnest analyzing the ways in which white supremacy culture shows up within our organization. In addition to the race equity action plan we developed earlier this year, we are now centrally focused on how to disrupt institutional systems inherently linked with the service sector to create a safer, more productive, and more supportive space for our Black and Brown colleagues.
- Civility: We are less than 100 days from the U.S. Presidential election. Regardless of party affiliation or position, we need to ensure that our country is in a place to get out and vote. That’s why I am doubling down on ensuring civics has a solid and forever place in our workplace. We will continue to encourage our employees to participate in elections—federal, state and local. We will continue to empower our employees to vote and be civically active, and we will champion civic engagement opportunities in our U.S. communities. Stay tuned for more from us on this front, including tools to support you and your employees in building a commitment to civics into your workplace as well.
Wherever you are, and whatever barriers lie ahead, know that we stand at the ready to support you through those challenges from a strategic planning and communications front. Please feel free to drop us line if we can help you and your team in any way. We’d love to help you get aligned and focused—as a collective and as individuals—to not just survive but thrive through the rest of 2020 and beyond.
We will get through this together. Wishing you much creativity and innovation ahead.