More messages from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.
I was distressed, shocked and dismayed by recent news reports from across the nation, and by what we’re seeing on the streets of our cities. Civil rights and issues of justice have reached a tipping point on a number of levels, and it has added uncertainty to an already uncertain time in our country. This has an impact on all of us, but especially people of color. I know it will also have a profound impact on the families we serve. I want you to know that my heart is with each of you and your families.
By now you’ve seen messages from Secretary Cheryl Strange and Assistant Secretary David Stillman about our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. DCS is absolutely committed to these principles as well. Communities are outraged over the death of George Floyd, the African-American man who was killed in Minneapolis. Further, there are countless incidents like it across the nation.
This can all seem overwhelming, and it can seem like there is nothing you can do. That’s understandable. However, there are a number of things you can do to make yourself more aware. Systemic racism is incredibly hard to dismantle; it is up to us to educate ourselves about how we can start eliminating barriers as we come across them. We can continue to make sure we are being mindful of how this impacts each of us, our own families, and the families we serve.
Right now, I would ask each of you to listen. Listen to the concerns and fears of the people in your communities. Listen to your co-workers. Listen to the families on the other end of the phone. Once you think you’ve really heard them, do what you can to respond respectfully and appropriately. Have conversations with your supervisors, your teams, and your local management about how to address these issues. Additionally, there are a number of resources that you can use to help build your awareness. I would encourage you to take time to familiarize yourself with the articles, podcasts, videos, books, and movies that are available to you.
This is a tough time; please reach out if you need help. The Employee Assistance Program is an important resource, and any employee can take leave if you feel you need to take care of yourself.
There are hard conversations ahead, but they are worth having; they can result in better times. For now, we are in this together and I know we will all help each other get through. We provide a critical resource in good times and bad, and I am thankful for your consistently good work in all circumstances. And so we will continue to do as our promise says: provide respect and resources, to every person every day.
Director, Division of Child Support, Economic Services Administration
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
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