At this morning’s Board of Director’s meeting, we discussed current events and the group decided we needed to make a statement.

Here’s what we know:

  • COVID-19 infected 1.7 million in America, killing 103,000 as of June 1, 2020 per CDC.
  • Our distressed economy now has 40,000,000 who have filed for unemployment.
    Some citizens have demonstrated to “reopen our economy and restore freedoms.”
  • A handcuffed African American man died under the knee of a police officer.
    During a citizen’s arrest, an unarmed African American is shot to death.
  • A white woman calls police when a black man asks her to leash her dog.
    George Floyd demonstrations turn into violent riots in several American cities.
  • We are very encouraged Salem County has shown demonstrations can be both impactful and peaceful.
  • National Guard troops are deployed across the nation, in at least 16 states.
  • As of May 31, at least four people have died in demonstrations and rioting.
  • Property losses, while quite secondary to loss of life, mount into the billions.

Your Chamber Board has prepared the following for our businesses and residents:

  • First, to safeguard against COVID-19 wear your mask, distance, and wash. This will demonstrate your concern for yourselves and protect others. Some are confident the disease has diminished and we can go back to “normal.” Safety first!
  • Second, be patient and kind to businesses and their staff. Understand we are all learning and adjusting to new requirements and new ways of doing business.
  • Third, we will actively work to avoid societal assumptions such as using ethnicity and race as descriptors. People are people, not a black man, Hispanic woman, African American. It is all our responsibility to hear the words of demonstrators. Failure to listen exacerbates the frustration.
  • Fourth, we believe in the maxim “it’s not my fault, but I am responsible.” George Floyd didn’t die at my hand but I have a responsibility in his death. At this time, I don’t know how to address the situation, but I know it is my charge. Perhaps it is as simple as trying to understand. Be the change you want to see in the world.

This is not a political statement. We share the planet with far more good people than bad. It’s time that caring, concern, empathy, and humanity come forward. Doing nothing is not an option. It is long past time we all play an active role in creating a world filled with peace, love and respect or all of humanity.