We can, we must, and we will do more to fight for racial equity: Message from Wilder President and CEO Armando Camacho

8/31/20 by Armando Camacho

Friends of Wilder,

I am dismayed to be writing to you yet again about violent, traumatic events in our country fueled by racism. We are forced to confront more tragedy, injustice, and pain while still reeling from the murder of George Floyd and coping with a global pandemic. The shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of police, and the subsequent murder of protesters demanding equity and justice, are horrifying examples of the individual and systemic anti-Black racism that plagues our country.

Wilder acknowledges that the events of last week have traumatized our entire community and affect those who identify or present as Black more intensely. We stand with those demanding justice for Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more people who have suffered violence or have been killed because of the color of their skin. We are resolute in our assertion that Black Lives Matter.

As a light-skinned Puerto Rican I have been reflecting on my own white privilege. When I have been pulled over by the police my immediate thoughts are whether or not I’ll get a ticket and if my insurance will go up. I have never once questioned if I will survive the encounter. My two sisters have dark skin and married African Americans. Recently one of them posted on Facebook to please pray for her 13-year-old that he stays safe. When my brown 20-year-old son leaves the house it doesn’t cross my mind that he may get killed and not make it home. My heart is with those who experience anti-Black racism on a daily basis.

We have so much work do to within our country and within our organization to stand up for racial equity. I have made our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts a priority for Wilder’s leadership. I will continue to explore ways to engage with staff and partners to understand how Wilder can use its resources, position and privilege to advance equity within our institution and throughout our community. We will share information about our actions to hold ourselves accountable to this critical work. We can, we must, and we will do more to fight for racial equity.