Last week, I sent several emails addressing the events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd and the ever-pressing injustice surrounding discrimination in our country, especially against African American males. Life Care Centers of America's President, Beecher Hunter, also sent a video expressing his sentiments on behalf of their company. Over the past few days, I have listened to remarks and expressions of emotion and have watched people express their outrage and grief. Several of our communities have seen protests in their area, and some of our own team members have participated in peaceful protests and silent vigils in unity and support of our African-American brothers and sisters.
As leaders, I applaud the action you are displaying with acts of kindness and transparent dialogue. It is apparent that trust has been broken in our nation. It is up to each of us to intentionally take steps to rebuild that trust. Personally, after listening to so many voices, I realize that I am answerable for my own expressions and voice. As your leader, that voice has influence in the cultural changes needed on behalf of Century Park Associates.
Recently, while visiting one of our communities, I overheard two caregivers talking. One mentioned that she is not a racist, but she began to discuss how some of our residents were brought up in a different era, and some residents request caregivers that are "their own color." She expressed, "They can't help it. That's the way they were raised, and we need to accommodate them."
My first action in kindness is to step in and say to this associate, “Yes, we can ‘help it,' and we don't and will not accommodate this discriminatory behavior.”
My second action is to educate the caregiver and all staff to see Century Park Associates as one and as equal, regardless of color. We cannot excuse the mindset of how someone was raised as I referenced in the caregiver scenario. We must help staff understand that it's not enough to be a non-racist; we should be anti-racist. We don't just walk past a child abuser and say, “I don't approve of child abuse.” Rather, we protect children and speak up against child abuse.
My third action is to educate this resident and all residents that choose a Century Park community as their home. We don't just placate people by stating that we are an equal opportunity employer; we act it out by providing an experience of cultural inclusion for all who walk through our doors.
Chief Operating Officer/EVP