The recent death of George Floyd while he pleaded, "I can't breathe," under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has laid bare, once again, the deep roots of institutional and personal racism in our nation, adding to generations of historical trauma.
After several nights of both peaceful demonstrations and riots—starting in our home base of Minnesota and then spreading to communities across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle and all of the other places where we operate and collaborate—people are hurting profoundly.
We must and can do better—as a nation, as individual people, and as organizations. At Hazelden Betty Ford, we condemn all acts of racism and violence and are committed to taking actions to improve the diversity, equity and inclusion of the communities we serve through treatment, education and research, and as an employer and community member.
I have joined other executive leaders in committing to change. I'm also joining 1,500 fellow employees at Hazelden Betty Ford in that commitment. As advocates for people with addiction, we have always been a voice for underserved, marginalized people. At the same time, we understand the limitations of our own historical, cultural frame of reference. We recognize—humbly so—that we have much more work to do and many more bridges to build.
As the country struggles to dismantle systemic inequities and racism, Hazelden Betty Ford stands with people of color and all who are working to achieve change, including our friends and partners providing hope and healing in the heart of our most diverse communities. We are committed to listening, learning and helping more—and engaging in the important work that lies ahead.