As we wrap up June 2021 celebrating and supporting Pride month and the LGBTQ+ community, we reflect on the many communities that continue to deserve a spotlight for change. Over the past 15 months, the nation experienced a condensed year of tragedy, stress and extreme change as we watched sickness, intolerance and isolation impact our personal and professional lives. So how, as people, do we face these hardships and give meaning to the heart-breaking impact these events have caused?
To many of us, the answer is, and always will be: actionable change and the continued hope and promise that we, as a community on this earth, deserve better for ourselves and the generations to come. From these storms, seeds were planted across America to stand firm and insist on equality, compassion and basic human rights for all. One of these seeds sprouted to form the Voices of Change Committee among the staff of CalNonprofits Insurance Services.
Our group of four, strongly supported by our CEO, Colleen Lazanich, came together to ask ourselves and challenge each other on how we could do more and recognize our personal and company responsibility in Social Justice matters. We had no idea where to begin but like many of our amazing nonprofit clients, we bravely set forth to learn and grow as individuals and a team. As we reflect over the last year since the inception of the committee, we are encouraged and grateful for the opportunity to be supported in this work and are excited by the possibility of future actions we can continue to make.
A question that has come up often is, “how can we help, what do we do?” While there are many ways to be a part of a system of change, here are some of the ways the Voices For Change Committee took action over the last year:
- Donations: In response to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and the many others before and after, we provided information and links for our employees to make donations to Social Justice organizations that we tracked and were able to match dollar for dollar as a company.
- Diversity: As an organization we felt strongly that making a public stance against racism was not an option, it was our civic duty. To follow- up with this internally, we revised our handbook to include a diversity policy and center our hiring processes and practices around inclusion and access to opportunity for all.
- Committee Posts and Education: Our Voices for Change committee has been diligent in keeping up with the social climate and opportunity to educate our staff. Each month we explore a BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and marginalized community that has been impacted by violence and hate and highlight their contributions, culture and the hardships they face simply living in their own skin. In addition, as a company we watched videos and assembled an open forum for staff to share their feelings or personal experiences in a safe environment. For topics that felt complicated and large, we hired a speaker to facilitate a company discussion on unconscious bias and a historical timeline of how integrated systematic racism has been embedded within our Country.
- Juneteenth Holiday: In honor of the significance of Juneteenth, as a company, we commemorate June 19th as a holiday.
- Accessibility: To ensure that information and resources from our organization are as accessible as possible, our website, www.Calnonprofitsinsurance.org, has an accessibility menu that allows the colors, fonts, and images to transform to accommodate a variety of needs.
In the next quarter, we are looking forward to solidifying our values as a committee in writing and adding new members from our staff to continue the creativity and momentum that we have gained this past year. There is always space for change and growth. As a committee, and on behalf of the staff at CalNonprofits, we commit to continue to stay open-minded, to routinely reflect, to evolve, and to face that which is difficult but necessary to ensure equal rights and opportunity for all. It is truly undeniable, that as a diverse collective, we show our true strength.