In preparing to write this week’s update, I find myself struggling to provide the news you’ve come to expect from our Association. I haven’t slept since Thursday, sick with worry as my city explodes, burns, and bleeds. In an effort to be an ally, my niece attended a march on Sunday and was shot in the face with a rubber bullet by the Tampa police. She will be ok but lost a tooth and part of her bottom lip. The officer said to her, “Sorry about your face, sweetheart.” This cannot be who we are any longer.
I commend Secretary Mnuchin for his comments. Admittedly, I’ve been disappointed that our agency hasn’t more directly addressed the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so very many Black lives lost to racist brutality. I do recognize that it is uncomfortable for us to talk about race at work. Fear of saying the wrong thing often keeps us from wanting to engage in a discussion about race and equality.
In an effort to lead by example, I am using my platform to start this dialogue even though I am late in doing so. I am sad for the Black lives lost and mourn with their families over futures cut brutally short, celebrations that will never be had, goals that will never be realized. I am angry that systems promoting racism continue to persist and that our leaders in all levels of government continue to fail to dismantle them. I am scared that neither daylight nor threat of public exposure provides safety from violence, and that our Black colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors inhabit a world where their lives are consistently in peril.
Racism is a failure to recognize our shared humanity. To my Black colleagues and other colleagues of color, I stand with you in solidarity. I see you. I am listening. To my white colleagues, I invite you to join me to start, or continue, the work of dismantling racism by learning to name and notice white supremacy culture and how it lives in our histories, in our institutions, and in ourselves – and then learning skills to powerfully change it at all levels.
For resources on how to learn and practice anti-racism on the personal, familial, and institutional levels, as well as a listing of Black-led organizations to support right now (and always), please see the attached document.
I’ve heard a lot this week from people who don’t understand why someone would riot, loot, or damage property as part of a demonstration. The destruction of my community is painful. While I do not in any way condone breaking the law, we should acknowledge that riots have a long history in the process of moving our nation forward.
As history shows us, riots and looting are the consequences of ignoring the pleas of marginalized communities. They are never the first resort but instead a final act of desperation and frustration. We need to listen and we need to change if we ever hope to restore peace.
Thank you for reading and look for a more comprehensive PMA update next week. Be safe and be well.
Supervisory Tax Analyst
National President, Professional Managers Association (PMA)
Centralized Quality Review System (CQRS), Review Section 2
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