In recent days, it seems almost every company, large and small, has made a statement about the killing of George Floyd, and their position on racism in our country. We have waited to make a statement until now - not because we were unclear about how absolutely wrong, criminal, and tragic George Floyd’s death is. There is no doubt in our minds about that. But rather, our statement needed to be more than platitudes and aspirations. We are prepared to move beyond words into action.
It was important that we first listened to the voices of our Westerra team members and hear from them. We care deeply about our employees and our members, and Westerra is lucky to have a diverse membership and employee population. After publishing a video to our staff, we invited them to a series of open dialogues on the subject of the killing of Mr. Floyd, the others who have suffered the same fate before him, and the dynamics of race in our community and country. Our employees – the very heart and soul of our company and our most valued asset – needed to know where we stand. They needed to hear us say out loud that this is a safe place for everyone. We also realized how very real and raw the feelings and emotions around the death of George Floyd are, especially for our African-American employees, and the fear and frustration they deal with every day, just being black in America.
The killing of George Floyd is inexcusable on every level. Inexcusable for the officer who killed him, and for the others who stood by and did nothing as his life drained from his body. Even more tragic, and more disturbing, is the fact that George Floyd is far from the first to lose his life in this way. It is time for all of us as Americans to come together and ensure that these injustices stop. Westerra stands with George Floyd. We believe Black Lives Matter. We stand with all of our fellow Americans who endure discrimination because of the color of their skin, where they are from, what they believe, who they choose to love, or whatever else about them that makes them unique. Let there be no doubt about Westerra’s position on these matters.
We are living in difficult times. The issue of racism in America is, at once, very clear in terms of right and wrong, and yet very complicated in how we talk about it. We at Westerra are committed to working through the discomfort of these conversations and continuing this dialogue with one another. Our commitment to our team members is to ensure ours is a fair and inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of our community and provides development and advancement opportunities for all. Our commitment to our members and our communities is, and always has been, that all of our account opening, lending, and business banking practices are free of discrimination and bias. Furthermore, we’re discussing ways we can use our resources and human capital to drive positive changes in our communities, especially for those most impacted by the persistent racism that undermines the ability of far too many Americans to enjoy their “…certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776.
Thank you to our members for your continued trust in Westerra. We invite you to share with us your thoughts, feelings, questions, and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Champion, President/CEO Andrew Raicevich, Chairman
Westerra Credit Union Westerra Credit Union Board of Directors