Black Lives Matter: Do Something About It
Written by Chip LaFleur
Over the past few weeks, our country and city have been processing profound grief. One of those stages of grief is always anger, and I’m angry about our broken institutions that perpetuate racial inequality and ignore implicit bias. Our systems and approach toward governance and policing need to change.
While I don’t support property damage or riots that endanger people’s health and safety, systemic violence against any specific group of people is of greater concern and is much more sinister. Windows can be fixed, inventory repurchased. We cannot replace people and black lives matter.
Businesses Need to Be a Voice for Change
I want to see systemic violence done away with. I want people of all races and origins to feel welcomed in my community, and that means feeling safe from people who are willing to break the law as well as those that are entrusted to enforce it. I want all of my neighbors to see law enforcement officers as a part of their communities, using evidence-based methods to reduce crime and risk to those communities and themselves.
For all of this to happen, we need meaningful change, and that change doesn’t come from updating our social media profile pictures. It comes from hard work. People must organize to effectuate the change they want to see.
It requires laws and policies that provide independent oversight, empower investigators and prosecutors, and demand accountability. It means giving police departments and other organizations the tools and the funding they need to support community policing and bias training. Most importantly, it requires humility and a willingness to self-reflect and learn from our black, brown, and other marginalized neighbors.
At LaFleur, we recognize that diverse perspectives and experiences make our workplace a healthier, stronger place. Since we’re benefiting from our team’s diversity, we’re obligated to support them and fight alongside them. That means giving our time and money to promote positive change and social equality.
LaFleur Is Donating to 4 Organizations Fighting for Racial Equality. Please Join Us
Business leaders need to take an active role, demanding changed policies and approaches, contacting our legislators and leaders, and working with social justice organizations.
Today, LaFleur made donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Communities United Against Police Brutality, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Grand Rapids Urban League. We donated $500 to each of these organizations, a small step in the right direction. I’m also challenging my fellow business leaders to follow our lead. Right now, posting on your social media accounts just isn’t enough.
The system needs to change, and these organizations have been working towards that positive change for many years. While we have a long way to go, they have been making progress, and I’m hopeful that with increased support, they’ll be able to do even more.
And while money is essential to the fight, our team also volunteers its time and services to non-profits. If you work for a West Michigan non-profit that’s looking for volunteers, send us information about your needs or volunteer opportunities.