08/16/2017

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From Vanessa Kirsch (Founder & CEO), Tulaine Montgomery (Managing Partner), and Jeff Walker (Chairman)

On behalf of our organization and in solidarity with our community, we unequivocally condemn the bigotry, terror, and violence that led to the loss of life in Charlottesville last weekend. We mourn Heather Heyer, the young woman who was murdered, and our thoughts and prayers are with the other people who were injured engaging in peaceful protest. In that vein, we also remember and recognize the many others who have succumbed to, or been injured in, senseless, race-based violence in recent years, and throughout our history.

Their courageous acts of standing up for what is right and just are models we must follow to decisively turn back a re-emergent and growing wave of bigotry and hate directed towards people of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, faiths, and sexual orientations in America. We have seen what happens when this hate goes unchecked, and the stakes are high for all of us. We must be fully engaged in truth-telling and civic action to push back against this threat to our democratic values.

At the same time, we need to push forward our work to break down barriers to opportunity for all. The intersection of equity and opportunity has been a major focus for us at New Profit and across our community, and we are currently engaged in strategy and design work to set our goals and a plan of action for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion over the next few years. This involves deep engagement with our community of partners and we are committed to continuing to learn, change, and share our experiences.

Given the challenge of this work and the gravity of the moment, in addition to outward actions, we are also committed to consistently practicing contemplation and self-care. This leads us back to Charlottesville, a great city that will emerge from this hurt stronger, we have no doubt. One of us, Jeff Walker, is a graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, a member of the University’s Board of Visitors, and a founding supporter of the Contemplative Sciences Center on campus. We offer a few resources here for use by anyone who is feeling the need to re-center themselves at this trying time: guided relaxation and meditation from Heartfulness Institute, a centering exercise from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind), and a loving-kindness practice, also from CMind. For parents and educators, we are also sharing NPR’s resource guide for talking to children about racism and violence.

We can derive the energy and resolve we need on the challenging road ahead from the words of Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother, who said shortly after her daughter’s death, “I don’t want [Heather’s] death to be a focus for more hatred, I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion.” These words are similar to the ones offered by Mamie Till, the mother of 14-year-old Emmett Till, whose murder by white supremacists in 1955 helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement. She said, “the murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.”

Please let us know your thoughts on New Profit’s social media streams or by emailing communications@newprofit.org.