Hurt, Hope & Unity – A message from Alberta Professional Services
To: All Employees
From: Tom Duerhring, Tenika Mebane & Derek Mitchell
Date: June 2, 2020
First, and foremost, we would like to acknowledge the job you have been doing during this challenging time. Words cannot express the heroes that you are. To share your life, and those who share their homes, with the most needy and vulnerable speaks volumes about your heart and integrity. You make a difference that is immeasurable. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
As if a global pandemic is not enough, racism and intolerances have hurt our African American communities once again. We are grieving the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many more before them. We should all expect to be safe, and sadly we all are not. When anyone of us cannot go jogging, walk in a park, drive a car, or any other daily activity, without fear of being singled out because of the color of our skin, none of us are free or safe. One life lost is one too many. As a company dedicated to those that are underserved, we know all too well the struggle of the vulnerable communities along with the despair and lack of support. Things must change, and we all must be part of this solution. To our employees, we see you, we hear you and we support you.
1 John 3:18 says “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and truth.” We may not all have the same religious backgrounds, but we think it is safe to say that we can all agree with that verse. Why? Because we have witnessed your love through actions. We have seen our APS family come together in times of need for not only our APS family members, but also for those in our communities. We have witnessed you take up donations for coworkers out of work. We have witnessed you support one another during the loss of a family member. We have witnessed APS volunteering when the tornados ravaged local communities. You cooked meals and provided water and other necessities. We have fed the homeless on multiple occasions and had plans to feed them again until COVID stopped those plans.
We have begun steps to internally start a conversation with regards to racism, discrimination, and bigotry. We have always had a policy, but we do not feel we have talked about it enough, and it needs attention. We can make our workplace and community a better place, together. We view Alberta as a family, and we want to make sure every family member feels comfortable to speak their mind. More importantly, we need to start talking about this with each other and in groups. The old saying, start local and think global. We want everyone to be part of these discussions. That is the only way to change anything, have an open and honest conversation. This will not just make our lives better, hopefully it will help us to understand each other, and appreciate our gifts and differences.
Now is the time to put action to our words on this subject of racism, discrimination, and bigotry. Our sincere hope is that each of you will join us on this journey. Expect to hear more on this and see this be put into action.
What will Alberta Professional Services be doing to help?
- Advocating for diversity and inclusion in the workplace and reviewing the discrimination policy.
- Discussing the impact of racism and mental health.
- Building a diverse committee to plan and discuss sensitive topics like: systematic racism in regards to education, housing, police brutality, hiring discrimination, the prison system.
- Building a diverse team to teach our cultural competency training
- Providing training and literature to teach diversity training and sensitive cross cultural training.
- Create a pay scale tailored to each department to ensure that each employee is paid fairly according to their education, years of services and experience.
- Having a no judgement, open door policy to discuss sensitive topics.
- Discreet Surveys for feedback regarding this meeting and opinions/ideas for other topics of discussion.