On Monday, our Chairman and CEO Lisa A. Brothers, PE, ENV SP, LEED AP BD+C, made the following statement on an all-company call, and then followed up by sending it out in writing along with a list of antiracism resources to help our employees learn and act. We’d like to share this statement (slightly modified to reflect the events that have already occurred this week) and our list of resources with you, our clients and friends, in the hopes that they help you as well.
One of Nitsch Engineering’s foundational core values is ethics, which means that we’re committed to doing the right thing for the right reason. We will continue to do our best to make change going forward. As a step towards achieving racial justice, Nitsch Engineering is donating to Campaign Zero, which is working to end police violence using proven policies, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice.
A letter from our Chairman and CEO:
Many of us are processing the events of the last week, which began with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th. The protests and civil unrest that have risen up across the country last week and over the weekend have been a direct response to his murder – which was only the latest in a long chain of senseless and cruel deaths that clearly illustrate the systemic racism that continues to be a major issue in America.
Across the country – and in many of our communities including Boston and Washington, DC – we saw primarily peaceful protests bring together hundreds of thousands of people who raised their voices to demand a change to the policies and systems that result in police brutality and the unnecessary deaths of too many Black people. In many places, including Boston and DC, these peaceful protests transitioned into more destructive unrest, with property damage and looting led by much smaller groups of people.
Even as we see civil unrest rise, we need to remember what these protests are about – institutionalized racism that results in police brutality and the death of Black people and people of color. The impacts of these systems on Black people and other people of color are more important than property damage – property can be replaced, but people’s lives cannot.
As a person with white privilege, I am lucky that I have not had to deal with the racism, discrimination, and resulting fear and anger that Black people and people of color have to face on a daily basis. I’ve been working on recognizing my privilege and continuing to grow as an ally to the antiracist movement, and I hope many of you are in the same place.
We have said since the beginning that Nitsch Engineering is a company committed to “building better communities with you” and there is no version of a “better community” that allows racism and discrimination or fear of the “other” to move forward unchecked. Enough is enough.
Addressing these issues may feel overwhelming, but if we are committed, we will do the hard work required to build a better community that is less racist and more inclusive. There are things we can each do. I encourage everyone to join me in exploring their biases and privileges, continuing to learn about the pervasive nature of institutional racism, and looking at what we can do as individuals to help build a more equitable society.
The Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Group developed a list of resources, which includes recommended reading, ways to act, and charities doing excellent antiracist work. They also hosted a Community Circle on Wednesday, June 3rd, to provide a safe space for discussion. I’m grateful to them for taking the lead on these initiatives to help all of us continue to grow.
If you are struggling with anxiety or grief related to this painful unrest, our Employee Assistance Program – which is available to all employees and your households, even if you are not on our insurance – could provide resources to help. Information on how to access that resource is available on NitschNet (our intranet).
Finally, I want to recognize that thinking about these issues can be challenging. It requires a lot of individual effort to listen and learn, but that effort is worth it, as it gives us the opportunity to make a difference and drive change on both a personal and an institutional level. I hope that we can all have patience with each other as we learn and grow. In addition, it’s important that those of us who are white recognize that we are privileged to get to CHOOSE to confront these issues – a choice George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, along with way too many other Black people who had their lives taken from them, did not get to make.
Lisa A. Brothers, PE, ENV SP, LEED AP BD+C