Kinecta Community

Answering the call to confront racism

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor.

Until recently many of us knew little about these individuals. Yet today, these names symbolize a disturbing pattern of injustice permeating our nation. How can we purport to be the world leader of freedom and equality and allow this to happen, repeatedly, without addressing it once and for all? These senseless deaths of our fellow citizens represent yet another wake-up call that our nation has a serious problem eating at the core of our democracy. Can’t we finally rise as a nation and answer the call?

America should be better positioned to solve this problem than at any other time in its history, politically, financially and socially. We have the examples of past civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Deborah Parker to guide us. What we have lacked in the past is the tenacity to follow through and reject those measures that are only temporary or short-sighted. I hope now we are more determined to find that permanent solution.

The injustices in Minnesota and Georgia and Kentucky shocked us. But for so many, these horrific killings are yet another reminder of the different reality they experience daily. If the rest of us are honest with ourselves, we will admit that we have seen this before too, and yet, here we are again. We cannot pretend that systemic racism does not exist when confronted with clear evidence to the contrary. We cannot “unsee” what we have seen and conveniently go back to business as usual.

The truth is I have never experienced the pain of racism, and because of this, I lack the proper context to speak credibly about how it feels and its impact on those who have. But still, I can commit to being part of the solution…to listen, to empathize, to encourage and to act wherever and whenever I can promote meaningful change. And, I can ensure that the credit union I represent continues its pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion and models the behaviors we want to see in our communities and in our nation.

Keith Sultemeier
President & CEO
Kinecta Federal Credit Union

P.S. If you are looking for actionable ways to educate yourself, I found this site helpful. It is a guide to talking about race, and includes tips  for parents, caregivers, educators, and anyone committed to equity.