The tragic events both locally and nationally over the past several months have me thinking of everyone I come in contact with in our community and questioning what I can do to address social injustices. As our nation and our local communities respond to the recent tragedies, I will continue to challenge myself to search for ways to better engage with our community. To me, building a culture of inclusion means that we honor, respect and celebrate the unique differences that EACH of us contributes to making our families, community and nation strong and successful.
The recent tragedies have had a devastating impact on victims, survivors, our neighborhoods and our society as a whole. Our sense of safety has been jeopardized. It is important to put ourselves in the shoes of those whose lives have been directly affected. It is important to challenge ourselves to be open to the fears of others without negating them.
Last Friday evening one of my co-workers and I took part in the QC March for Solidarity, an event led by area leaders and pastors. I was proud to march alongside people representing many different ages, races and ethnicities. There was chanting of “Black Lives Matter”; there was chanting of “All Lives Matter.” Listening to the many unique voices coming together gave me hope. Many attendees approached our local police officers, shook their hands and said “Thank you.” It was a peaceful protest with the cooperation of our Rock Island and Davenport police officers. This speaks volumes about our community and our local departments. I am sure Friday was not an easy day for them, and I thank them for keeping us all safe.
While I don’t know all the answers, I do know that I will hold myself accountable to being there for the survivors of these crimes, doing my best to stand up when I see mistreatment, and teaching those that come after me that every life is important.
Mary Macumber Schmidt, President