Yesterday, the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd ended in Chauvin being found guilty of all charges against him. This verdict brings accountability for the senseless murder of George Floyd, but the fight to end racism and hate in our country continues. There is so much more work to be done. We all need to continue to take action to build a society where everyone’s fundamental human and civil rights – and the dignity and respect that come with them – are upheld and protected. True justice demands that tragedies like George Floyd’s death – and so many more – do not continue to happen.
It is not lost on us that Daunte Wright was killed on April 11, 2021, not more than ten miles away from where Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of George Floyd. Systemic racism is deeply rooted in our country’s history; the culture of unequal treatment needs to end. Accountability for one’s actions needs to be at the forefront of society. We can, and must, do better.
In response to the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, COMPASS recommitted itself to creating an environment that values the tremendous power that diversity brings in addition to strengthening and maintaining a culture of inclusiveness. COMPASS’ ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has so far included the following phases:
- In June 2020, a staff-led committee was formed as the start of COMPASS’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative. The committee met with Executive Director Laura Lajewski for several months to determine the best path forward for the organization to address the systemic racism that impacts those COMPASS serves, its staff, and society.
- In December 2020, COMPASS entered into a long-term relationship with the YWCA of Boston (“YW Boston”) to guide the organization on its journey to create meaningful and measurable change.
- All COMPASS staff participated in a two-hour interactive training in mid-January 2021 to learn how social identities are formed, how oppressive cycles are reinforced in daily life, and how shared language helps facilitate productive discussions.
- Starting in February 2021, twenty-five staff members participated in YW Boston’s “InclusionBoston” program. This group was composed of COMPASS’ senior leadership team and sixteen staff equally represented from the COMPASS School and the Community Services program.
- YW Boston is now supporting COMPASS over the course of twelve months as COMPASS implements a comprehensive action plan to create a more equitable and inclusive workplace.