Dear Christine Valmy Community,
During the past tumultuous two weeks, I’ve spent time reflecting on the inequality and intolerance that has festered in our society for centuries, as well as where we are now as a people. I’ve thought a lot about what I could do personally, and what we can do as a company, to help fight the persistent epidemic of racism in our country. Writing social media posts is not enough. We must take concrete action. However small our part, collective small acts can build momentum for meaningful change.
The Christine Valmy organization has always championed equality and inclusion, and we are willing to vigorously stand up for those values, especially when they are threatened. Our staff comprises more than 15 nationalities, a multitude of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions, and more than 90% women. We are extraordinarily grateful for this diversity, as it makes us a better and stronger company.
My mother used to say: “People who are intolerant are stupid. If you peel the skin away: the muscles, the nerves, the bones, and the organs are all the same. People should look at the person, not the color of the skin.”
As recent events have highlighted, this sentiment is not shared by all. The brutal murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the anguish these deaths have surfaced for communities of color, are glaring reminders of the progress yet to be made to have a truly just and equal society.
But it is not only the countless killings of unarmed black men and women which expose the undercurrent of racism that continues to pervade society in 2020. It’s in everyday interactions. It’s in the overt – and the subtle – ways people of color are treated differently by institutions, and by peers.
The fundamental truth about the American dream is that it is still not equally achievable for all Americans. Systemic racism is so ingrained in our culture that it will require each and every one of us employing the means we have available to drive real, lasting change. All of us should have access to the same opportunities in life, and we must use this historic moment as a chance to push forward together toward the ideals of fairness, shared respect, and equality.
At Christine Valmy, we strongly believe that education is the great equalizer, as it can give any person the tools needed to hold destiny in their own hands. We are proud of the fact that the education we provide has helped countless students improve the quality of their lives by preparing them to harness new opportunities, regardless of where they came from or the color of their skin. Despite that, we recognize that simply providing education is no longer enough. We can and must take a more active role in fighting injustice.
What We Are Doing to Contribute
- We will be engaging with local community centers and high schools to teach about career opportunities and engage at-risk youths of color with a focus on African American and Black girls. We have asked Phylicia Henry, one of our esteemed Nails teachers and Christine Valmy alumni, to lead our Cultural Inclusion Outreach Initiative.
- We are reaching out to members of our Black alumni community to learn about their experiences in professional settings, in order to better prepare our students for challenges they may encounter, as well as foster necessary change via our employer relationships.
- We are reviewing our list of suppliers to see if there are any Black-owned businesses we can support directly.
- We have made donations to NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Equal Justice Initiative.
- We are working to form an ongoing scholarship program to promote equity in access to education.
- We have always strived for diversity in our hiring process, but will review the channels through which we find candidates to evaluate where there may be room for improvement.
- This year, we will be closed on November 3rd, election day, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to vote. It is our civic duty to elect politicians who reflect our values, and who are committed to advancing a fair and just society. The conduct of individual people matters, the actions of companies matter, and who we elect to represent us matters.
This is only the beginning in our renewed commitment to “walk the walk” in the struggle for equality. While these are extraordinarily difficult times, we are at a crossroads, and there is an opportunity to break down the status quo and work together to build a brighter future for us all.