The following is an excerpt of a letter sent to all BTS staff regarding racism, equality, and social unrest in light of recent events.
As we are all painfully aware, our country is experiencing unprecedented civil unrest triggered by the tragic death of George Floyd, but the roots trace back to our country’s founding. Racism, inequality, and injustice touches all of us at every level and sadly, many of us have experienced it at the most personal level, and none can take for granted or assume to understand fully what our fellow American has lived through. The pain, loss, anger, and frustration of the pandemic and the resulting economic impact only make it worse.
The demonstrations and demands for justice reach directly to our core values as Americans, veterans, and servants to our Nation. So too does the need for peaceful civic discourse. At times we can find it hard to see what a collective path forward of healing, recovery, and progress looks like.
But in these hardest of times, we must fall back on our core values. Values drive our decisions and provide a beacon – especially when the path is not clear. For BTS, our values are rooted in our collective service, and they are unequivocal:
- Respect, dignity, and fairness for all people
- Dedication to our founding principle that all people are created equal
- Selfless service to our Nation
- Commitment to our Community
- Ethics and integrity in all things
These values are non-negotiable, are the foundation of our company culture, and should constitute the expectations and character of every member of the BTS team.
Yet values without action are just hollow words. With this in mind BTS is taking the following actions to ensure we are meeting our high standards for ourselves:
- We commit to being thoughtful in our messages and language.
- We commit to cultivating a culture that is safe for everyone to be their authentic selves and to tell us when we need to do better by listening to our employees and making changes that make us a better and truly inclusive organization.
- We commit to actively and explicitly offering resources and support to our employees who have been directly impacted.
- We will provide learning opportunities for our employees and leaders to create practical ways to make our workspace and our communities safer, more welcoming, and better informed.
In addition to the encouragement of respectful dialogue and support of our staff’s rights and desires to protest and express themselves in the public square, BTS is also engaging in the following:
- Sharing anti-racism resources, mental health hotlines, and support information with our teams.
- Encouraging dialogue and peaceful participation as employees feel so led.
- Re-allocating funds from our annual picnic to helping the broader community heal.
- Matching employee donations and working with our staff to identify organizations, outlets, and activities where we could best invest.
At the end of the day, it takes all of us. Together. You don’t have to be political or move mountains to help; making change in even the smallest areas impacts systemic issues that many of us face today. A few examples are:
Donating to anti-violence, legal, and justice causes such as: Suicide Hotlines, Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), anti-child abuse organizations, the Domestic Violence hotline, Wounded Warriors, or the ACLU.
Paying it forward by ordering a meal for a neighbor, sending a care package, or helping fund a local artist or artisan in your town.
Calling your friends and/or family and tell them you care about them. Listen to them, be gentle and curious about what they’re going through. Reduce the hatred in your own social circles.
Read with some curiosity about people who are different from you. Just to learn. It doesn’t have to be political; it can even be reading about a sport you don’t watch, or a city you’ve never been to.
Again, these are truly trying and troubling times. We have great hope that our country and our citizenry will find a path to healing and a better, more just, safe, and secure future. That is what America was founded on – knowing we always have work to do as we strive to “form a more perfect union, for ourselves and our posterity.”
For BTS, our values guide that effort.
Photo credit: Joshua Tohn