The succession of immoral, senseless and tragic murders of African American people over the past many months jolted the consciousness of the nation and brought front and center, once again, the ugly fact that racism is still an insidious element of the American social fabric.
As protests arose across the country and around the world, the impact of these injustices—from institutional discrimination to the hands of those sworn to uphold justice—was felt very deeply by the staff of NEA Member Benefits.
The call to go beyond those deep feelings of grief and anger from our team was overwhelming. Talking about these issues, while therapeutic and often cathartic, is simply no longer enough. NEA Member Benefits’ participation in the Facebook boycott for social justice was our first step in expressing our commitment to these issues publicly. We want there to be no doubt in our commitment to justice. We—as a company, as individuals and as citizens yearning to be part of a just society, make these promises...promises to ourselves, to our co-workers, to our families and to the members we serve;
- We promise to put our values into action
- We promise to use the influence we have with corporations, both large and small, to promote equality, inclusion and justice
- We promise to serve our members through practices that promote social and racial justice
- We promise to continually look in the mirror, listen to feedback and seek out instances of implicit bias in ourselves and in our own company
- We promise to promote a culture of racial and social equality and inclusion within NEA Member Benefits
- We promise to provide all staff with the tools and the access to identify actions, decisions and processes that promote inequity or inequality so that they can be seen and changed
- We promise to do everything we can as individuals and as a corporation to promote a just society and workplace.
As part of the National Education Association (NEA), NEA Member Benefits has always been an advocate for the nation’s educators and their students, but further for the rights of all racial-ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ community.
At this pivotal juncture, however, we feel it is our responsibility to take a more active and visible role in the social justice movement—both by encouraging our staff to contribute individually as they see fit, and as an organization to use our resources to help support what must become our country’s evolution to a just society.
As we further galvanize our efforts, we hold on to optimism about the future.
— Gary Phoebus, Chief Executive Officer