From the Leadership Alliance: We will always be stronger together

Statement from Agency & Chamber CEO Stacey Duncan, John Bernardo, Agency Board Chairman, Peter Newman, GB Chamber Board Chairman (out-going) and Ty Muse, GB Chamber Board Chairman (incoming)

 

The last several months have brought unprecedented challenges and have put to test basic assumptions about systems in our world, our nation and in our daily lives. With COVID-19 these systems were easy to pinpoint: that our kids will go to school from the fall to the summer; that we could always get in our car and go to work; and that we could gather with friends and family at anyplace anywhere.

 

As most assumptions usually are, these were wrong. The mechanics of our day-to-day lives can be changed on a dime. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, we are not that independent, but rather, intricately interwoven and connected to one another. I cannot…go to work…take my kids to school…, visit my mother… if we are not healthy and whole.

 

While many systems have been stymied by COVID 19, they will eventually recover. We will adapt to new practices and processes. We will innovate and settle into a “new normal” We will begin to see recovery in terms of sales growth and revenues and job creation. As vitally important as these are, should they be the only ways we evaluate our recovery?

 

COVID 19 brought to light vulnerabilities of many basic systems, but it did not scratch the surface compared to the fracture that exists in the United States with the inherent and accepted system of racism and inequality.

 

The acts of violence against men and women of color over the last several months are incomprehensible to most of us, but for many, it is a reality they hope to never confront. These are not isolated events, but the outcome of the continued slow burn of racism in our communities for generations.

 

The last several months have left us all raw and exposed. We have to believe that there is a reason. If the walls have come down, then let’s rebuild from the foundation up. Let’s do this block by block. Let the new normal shut down the voices that divide us and be one of compassion and understanding and a recognition that we rely on each other to thrive.

 

We can only have a vibrant economy when we have a truly connected community. Diversity and inclusion should not be temporary trend but a radical commitment we make to each other. Let’s support our existing businesses while we build new ones. Let’s create economic opportunity where it has previously been out of reach. Let’s make cultural and racial equality the most important element of our celebrated quality of life. “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein

 

The Leadership Alliance of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce and The Agency is committed being the change we want to see. We need all of you to join us. We will always be stronger together.

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