Rick Miller, CEO of the Avamere Family of Companies, recently issued a statement to all employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion in response to events surrounding the death of George Floyd. You can read his message in its entirety below.
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Once again, I find myself addressing you about a crisis impacting our nation and many members of the Avamere family. Earlier this year, a pandemic swept across our land, bringing fear for our health and uncertainty about our economic security. Moreover, the virus seemed to target the very population we serve, while those in power failed to recognize protecting communities like ours should have been their priority.
Now we are faced with a tragic reminder that prejudice and inequality still exists in our modern world. With it, a wave of protests are sweeping across our country fueled by a genuine, and legitimate, frustration over the failure to enact change.
As a leader, father, husband, and human citizen of this world, I am outraged at the inhumane police brutality continuously endured by the black community. The voice of George Floyd pleading for his release and gasping the words, “I can’t breathe,” while not the first time, has left me saddened by the fear and anguish it has brought to our communities.
I am extremely sensitive to our Avamere family, who are experiencing a natural response of grief, fear, confusion, and any number of emotions right now. Through conversations with those most affected, I am learning how these current events affect their lives, daily and personally.
Through all of this, I can’t help but be reminded of the promise we made long ago to one another to live out our mission and values daily.
Integrity, passion, quality – these are not just words we say, but ideals we choose to guide and influence every decision we make.
So, when we say we value a culture of trust and respect, we better be willing to back it up with not only our words, but with our actions as well.
Now is not the time for silence
There comes a time when we are compelled to stop analyzing the problem and start advocating for what is right. That time is now.
We must call upon ourselves and our leaders to transform our culture and our institutions.
It is not enough for us to call upon our civic leaders to enact change.
That is why today, I am making it clear that the Avamere Family of Companies stands against all prejudice and bigotry – overt or implied. We stand against all forms of racism, sexism, sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, and all acts and systems that violate our mission to create a culture of trust and respect.
To ensure we propel this culture forward, we’re taking the following steps to examine our own views, institutions, and agendas:
- Elevate Diversity & Inclusion: Evolution starts at the top. Therefore, I am integrating the topic of diversity and inclusion into the agenda of our next board meeting. While we may not have all the answers, we know the path forward requires us to have these hard conversations with one another.
- Prioritize Corporate Social Responsibility: I have asked the leaders of our People Priority team to elevate our corporate social responsibility initiative to a higher priority. Issues of diversity, inclusion, and human dignity will no longer stand on the sidelines.
- Hire Diversity Consultant and Advisor: I’ve asked Culture and Diversity Consultant, Zanele Mutepfa, for help. We are hiring her collective to help us begin formulating both short-term and long-term plans for addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion opportunities at Avamere.
- Commission a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force: I am commissioning the creation of a team, who will be charged with reinforcing our commitment to becoming an inclusive organization.
People are the heart of our companies. Therefore, we are committed to listening and learning from you, so we can become more aware of your experiences and needs. Over the next few days, we will explore more creative spaces and platforms to engage in dialogue together.
In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me directly, using the form on our intranet. We’d love to hear other ways we can continue to open our doors and drive change, even beyond our own communities.
Additionally, we are working on creating a section on the same site with resources about finding help during these difficult times, how you can get involved in these initiatives, and ways you can affect change in your local community.
Every day, our teams wake up ready to enhance the lives of every person we serve. During these hardest of days, we need to cling even more dearly to that purpose.
It may be hard to see now, but a day of healing will come.
Until then, the Avamere Family of Companies will commit our hearts, our hands, and our resources to doing our part in ending social injustice.