Social Justice Reform
June 1, 2020
At the Greater New Haven and Quinnipiac Chambers of Commerce we talk a lot about inclusive growth, but clearly, first we need to recognize social justice. A lot of horrible things happen in the world, and as a Chamber, we normally do not comment on them because our cause is business. Today is different and being quiet is not an option right now. In fact, silence is how we all arrived at this moment.
The overwhelming majority of our police officers are dedicated, honest, professional and brave. We know there are bad cops, but they are only successful if others are complicit and silent. I’m not sure which was more shocking, the depraved actions of one officer killing a man with his knee, or the inaction of three other officers allowing it to happen. It was not an isolated incident, just look at what happened on Friday. An African American CNN reporter and his crew were arrested live on television as tens of officers stood eerily silent as they watched it unfold – they had to know it was wrong and yet they did not intervene. This is not just a police problem, it’s our society’s problem. WE cannot be silent when racism occurs in all of its many forms. Simply walking away is not okay – these wrongs must be confronted.
In the recent past, I’ve talked about the Chamber supporting inclusive growth, but when social justice topics have been raised, I’ve been one to say, the Chamber needs to stick to the business issues, that’s what we do and what we know. This can no longer be our approach; we have to change the way we address economic issues. The social justice challenges – housing, education, policing, incarceration, health disparities, centuries of racism, profiling, and the tilted playing field – are inextricably linked to economic growth.
My pledge is that as the Chamber moves forward to support inclusive growth, we will keep the social issues at the forefront. We’re not going political and we’re not going to comment on every wrong in the world. What we will do is recognize that real economic growth cannot be achieved until there is social justice reform.
We will not hide from it and we will not be silent anymore.