Over the past several months we have been talking to our staff about the shocking videos of racism and brutality and the protests that followed. At CARE, diversity is one of our seven core values. However, we realized that upholding that core value can be challenging because 92.8% of veterinarians in the workforce are white, making veterinary medicine one of the least diverse health care professions. In the Charlotte community, where 35% of residents are Black or African American, we recognize that we have a responsibility to make a difference for minorities who are under-represented in our field, including the Black community.
Steps We Are Taking For Racial Equality At CARE
We have been having open conversations with our Black employees, discussing ways we can substantively effect change. They were very gracious with their insights and their time, and we are grateful that they trusted us enough share their feelings. Two key concerns were “I need reassurance that I matter and that you would stand up for me if someone was being racist,” and “While ideas are great, what will matter is action. Authenticity and follow-through are important.”
Protecting our employees from racism while they are at work is imperative, but is also not enough. We want to declare our support of our employees of color publicly. It is our social responsibility to support anti-racist actions and organizations in our community. We will direct our efforts to introducing underrepresented minorities to careers in animal health care and to promoting their success. We recognize that as our profession becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, we will be better able to serve our multicultural community.
Today is but a step on that journey. To show our support for our Black team members we are wearing black ribbons and black scrubs (we call it our Black Out Day). From now on we will honor the beginning of Black History Month with a black out scrub day and offer different educational opportunities throughout the month. To celebrate emancipation and the end of slavery, June 19th will be a paid holiday, and we will participate in a volunteer project that helps the Black community.
CARE Stands With The Black Community
Our employees are more precious to us than words can convey; and the fact that our Black employees have been dealing with trauma, anger, and fear is heartbreaking. While we will never fully comprehend what they have gone through, we will work to honor their experience and to celebrate their history. Please join us as we shout it from the rooftops: WE STAND WITH OUR BLACK TEAM MEMBERS; WE STAND WITH THE BLACK COMMUNITY.