CEO's Corner - June 2020
by: Terri Hinkley EdD, MBA, BScN, RN, CAE
CEO - AMSN & MSNCB
2020 has been volatile, uncertain, and chaotic and it is only the beginning of June.
I know many of us are overwhelmed, exhausted, anxious, and frightened. That’s OK. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling, to acknowledge it and work through it. Robin Hertel, AMSN’s President is a passionate advocate for nurse self-care, and as you see often in her Robin’s Nest column, she offers solutions and suggestions for caring for ourselves regularly, but especially in our darkest times. I hope you are all finding ways to sooth your souls as we continue to navigate the world around us.
I have been watching with fascination, pride, and occasionally with horror, the protests erupting in the United States and other countries resulting from George Floyd’s murder. It strikes me that the protests are our collective way of saying enough is enough. Previously, when Black people, or People of Color (POC) were killed we were momentarily outraged but then turned our attention back to our busy lives and pressing priorities, shedding our outrage, and returning to our insular worlds and lives.
It occurs to me that what is different this time is that many of us are seeing disruption in our insular worlds and lives. We might have more time for reflection and action. Or maybe we’re just at the breaking point and we realize that enough is truly enough. Whatever the cause, I am heartened to see an outpouring of support, action and real ownership of the role we have played, as White people, in the systemic and pervasive racism within institutions, power structures, organizations and the very fabric of our society. I do not believe that we can place the blame squarely at the feet of any person, occupation, party or community. I believe now is the time for us all to look inward and be honest with ourselves as to our contributions to the silent racism that has raged around us for centuries.
I have a Black cousin, two Black second cousins and my daughter is in a long term relationship with a POC. I love each one of them. They are beautiful inside and out and I support them on every level. But I have had to face the fact that I have been a passive ally. I do not tolerate overt racism, I call people out when I hear it or see it, but have I done everything I could? Have I done enough? This is my own personal reckoning, and I’m laying it out for you to see. The answer is no, I have not. I promise to do better, to be better and to be a better ally to POC. This is not platitudes; this is my commitment to action.
I share this with you as a form of accountability. I pledge to you that I will, as AMSN’s CEO, do my very best every day to help us dismantle the barriers we have unknowingly perpetuated and make AMSN and MSNCB truly diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces for all. I hope you will join me.
In the coming days AMSN and MSNCB will be launching a platform where you can add your pledges to fight racism and promote inclusion. We will share these pledges on our website and hold each other accountable. We hope you will join us.