Sirens of Love and Action

Written by Jermaine Broetje, Philanthropy Intern

“Silence is violence” reads a protest sign

I speak from my own experience, in being stopped and told to take off my backpack at a Trader Joes in Seattle Washington. This was not the issue. The issue was watching all my white friends being able to carry their bags with them throughout the store. This is systemic, this is the reality of the skin I live in and the reality of so many people of color living in our community.

At Broetje Family Trust we are committed to a future where all communities celebrate diversity, equitable and inclusive practices. Historically, we have walked alongside immigrant communities and minority groups, celebrating the historical resilience and progression of each community. These celebrations are foundational in the work we practice nationally and internationally. As our philanthropy team actively engages in racial equity seminars and philanthropy courses, we look to implement diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices among our global partners.

Addressing the realities and experiences of racial awareness is vital in creating safe spaces in our community and workplaces. We have felt and witnessed movements, emotions, and the consistent urge to dismantle a long over-due cycle of inequality. Let us recognize race as a “tsunami” of larger social issues that become more complex the more we fail to acknowledge them. To discontinue legacies of revulsion, enslavement, dehumanization, and racial discrimination should be our call to action.

Dear Broetje Family Trust and Community, this is a time for collective action. Often, posts circulate on social media about how individuals cannot bear to witness another black or brown man being murdered or children being placed in cages at the Mexican border. Conducive thought cannot be led by temporary movements. These moments require our-communal and consistent call to action. Our chance to clearly and purposefully demonstrate solidarity and the willingness to note the weight that privilege carries is now. Silence and indecision maintain the status quo.

In our workplaces and communities, we must actively be countering bias, language, sentiments, and jokes that pertain to anti- ‘BIPOC’ (black indigenous people of color) language.  I have appreciated all who serve under the trust and their ability to embody critical feedback from BIPOC…this is crucial to one aspect of the development of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Though these conversations are difficult, there is growth through discomfort. Our world has set fire to racial inequality and the result has been violence. This changes with love and the ability to see, ‘both sides of the puzzle’.

I encourage you all to commit and persist in learning through self-education, reading, protesting, and engaging in actions that address the social realities of our world today. We must educate one another about global injustice and note every new piece of knowledge as tools toward community development.

As my grandmother always quotes, “Do small things with great love”- Mother Theresa

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