A view of Boston's historic Pilot House from the harbor

Matt Conti

Actions > Words

In another moment of shared tragedy, profound sadness and anger, we must act.

There is no denying that the scourge of racism continues to plague our country.

The murders of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minnesota, and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky remain far too familiar. In the first two instances, we know their names and their stories because there is video evidence of the heinous actions leading to their deaths. As many have asked whenever such horrific incidents occur: how many of these acts happen sight unseen?

Last week, we also saw the viral video of the disturbing confrontation in Central Park between Amy Cooper, a white woman walking her dog, and Christian Cooper, an African-American bird watcher. The exchange captured her instinctive willingness to render a false accusation about an African-American man to the police, after being rightly called out by Mr. Cooper for violating park rules to keep dogs leashed.

Let’s call it for what it is: at the center of each of these incidents is racism, plain and simple. So, what are we to do?

Let’s call it for what it is: at the center of each of these incidents is racism, plain and simple. So, what are we to do?

For those who have experienced racism on a consistent basis and seen this cycle play out far too many times, it is all so exhausting.

Of course, we can condemn and lament. Yet, actions always speak louder than words. I know my words in a blog post matter little. What matters is what we now choose to do.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Barr’s Equity Journey” and the long-term work we have been engaged in to more fully integrate diversity, inclusion, and equity in our work.

At Barr, what we do must continue to be shaped and influenced by the disproportionate effects of COVID on communities of color, the continued racist actions toward African-Americans in particular, and the existence of policies and structures that systematically oppress people of color, immigrants and others who are, put simply, not white.

Centering our work on equity runs through every facet of Barr’s work. Through our Education program, we support the fundamental redesign of high schools so that they create opportunities for students left behind by our current system. We advocate for climate policies that not only reduce greenhouse gases but address the inequitable impacts of our old ways of doing things. We advance arts and creativity that lift up the full breadth of our diversity and help us imagine a more equitable future.

As we redouble these efforts, we interrogate what it means to put equity at the center, to keep examining the systemic causes of inequities, and to advance the fundamental changes we need. For us, asking these questions is central to our mission, is rooted in our values, and is essential to how we mark progress.

We commit to this long-term work and, more importantly, to the actions that render these words real. We also stand in solidarity with our partners and all who continue to work tirelessly to create a more equitable and just world.

The tragic events gripping our country right now make it clear how much more work there is to do, how necessary it is for all of us to engage, and the urgency of converting intention into action.

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