From the desk of Paul Dragon, E.D. (11/30/2020)

Nothing to fear

Franklin Roosevelt made a crucial point about democracy at the outset of World War II when he proclaimed “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”  Democracy is indeed a constant struggle and act of bravery. Think of the sit-ins at lunch counters, the suffragettes fighting to vote and indigenous peoples’ opposition to exploitation. Think about John Lewis and “good trouble.”  

The recent Executive Order from the President limiting diversity training on “divisive concepts” is an attempt to censor and intimidate those entities committed to racial justice. In addition, when the President tweets that Americans should be taught to “take pride in their country” and threatens defunding he is explicit in his belief that it is unpatriotic to struggle for truth and freedom. He doesn’t seem to understand that we can hold two concepts at the same time which are a love of country and the strong and necessary urge to make it better through social and racial justice.

Our country has developed with white privilege and systemic racism rooted in its soil. It is so deeply rooted that we don’t’ seem to notice it because it does not affect a majority of us.  We can walk to the store, drive our car, buy a house, apply for jobs, let our kids play outside and go about our daily business with no regard for racism. For many of our fellow citizens however, racism is like a thick and toxic ether making it difficult to breathe.  

We are all bound together as a community which means no person will be free until everyone is free.  Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy and would not come through an executive order meant to oversimplify and threaten.  There is no easy way to end racism and injustice but there is a path forward. CVOEO is committed to taking an active role in fighting systemic racism.  We have joined others in declaring racism a public health issue. We have hired Virginie Diambou as our Director of Racial Equity and she is leading the review of our policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive and anti-racist. We are holding a series of diversity trainings that will focus on the hard and necessary questions that will continue our progress toward racial equity. We hope you will join us after all there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

CVOEO addresses fundamental issues of economic, social, environmental, and racial justice and works with people to achieve economic independence.


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impacting the lives of over 23,000 individuals