It has been exactly one year since George Floyd was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin. The world reacted to his needless death through an outpouring of emotions and actions, an awakening to the racism and social injustices that still exist today and the work that still needs to be done by every single one of us.
We at VISIONS have been working in this area of equity and inclusion work since 1984, and with this new awareness and interest, we have been working hard to do more and better—to connect and partner with more organizations and individuals, to learn and listen together, to keep doing what we do. The VISIONS team has risen to the challenge and we have been working harder than ever before.
We have seen an increased interest in VISIONS’ work. New inquiries rose 5.5 times from May to June 2020, and we are still seeing an increased and sustained level of interest from organizations today. From June 2020 to May 2021, the number of organizations working with VISIONS increased 71%, compared to the prior year.
A new series of educational webinars for public learning was introduced. “DEI Won’t Do: A Conversation About White Responsibility in Education,” our June 2020 webinar, engaged over 400 participants and connected us with people who are looking to learn about this work.
The VISIONS Spring Summit, held in May 2021was our first online virtual summit, which featured 3 keynote speakers and six presentations each accompanied by a debriefing session. One attendee shared: “Freedom is individual, liberation is for the community! I have many actionable steps I can take moving forward. Both personally and professionally.”
We have issued many thoughtful public statements to engage our community to think deeply, connect with one another, and take action; here are a few examples:
- Letters from our Founding Director, Dr. Valerie Batts, and our Executive Director, Elika Dadsetan-Foley, on protests, police violence, and why VISIONS matters
- Post election message
- Condemning Anti-Asian Violence
The next 12 months will be different from last year. Some of us have newfound knowledge and understanding; some of us found our own voices and have made steps we never thought we could; some of us have experienced hurt and suffering and are looking for the strength to maintain our positivity and sense of purpose. Most of all, I think that most of us are still learning, still searching, still wanting, and trying to make the changes needed around us. I applaud all of you, wherever you are on your journey; to continue to bring about the positive change that we all need.
The VISIONS Team