I wanted to share with you the message that Pam Iorio sent out last Friday afternoon, in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. This was a death that should never have happened, and the fact that it did caused me deep sadness and an even deeper resolve to work so that such incidents never happen again.
Perhaps the coronavirus has gotten us too accustomed to unnecessary deaths….I sure hope that is not the case because every life is so important. George Floyd’s life was important.
I am writing this note because this issue is so important. Racism for too many is still a very real thing that can lead to not only fear, harassment, and discrimination but in many cases, death.
No one should have to live in fear of being beaten up or killed when they leave their home in the morning to go for a jog, to drive to the grocery store, to visit family or friends, or to do any of a myriad of everyday activities. For too many across our nation, that fear is very real, and it is something so real black, brown and other parents feel compelled to warn their children about it.
I firmly believe with all my heart, that the work that each of us does each day at Big Brothers Big Sisters can help improve lives, can help build more bridges and better understanding between different groups in the communities we serve, can help prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future and most of all, help beat back the evils of racism.
I know and admire so many from our local law enforcement community that share these commitments as evidenced by the work they do to improve lives every day and voluntarily participate in programs like our ‘Bigs in Blue’ Mentoring Program. They are overall true allies in this effort.
However, while true progress has indeed been made on this issue with many people over the years, clearly and obviously much, much more still needs to be done across our great country.
As CEO of one of the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in the nation, one of the legacies I will work to leave is significant, sustainable progress on these goals.
I ask for all of your help and support because it’s important.
It’s really important…..not just today, but for a year from today, and three years from today….it will always be important.
Collectively we can achieve so much through the systems and networks we have set up and through the work, we know how to do already. Let’s leverage and build on that.
Let’s get at it.
Stephen A. Koch
President & CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay