Dear Colleagues,

On Monday, May 25, a man died right before our eyes.  He died in real time and on instant replay, over and over and over again.  He died not of a heart attack, a car accident or old age.  He died under the knee of a person, of four people, who swore an oath to protect him.

George Floyd was an African American man who had two daughters, several jobs, and countless friends.  He was one in a long line of men and women of color who have died under a knee, at the barrel of a gun or swinging from a tree in a “free” country. 

It is hard to talk about racism.  But, it is much harder not to talk about racism.  Silence does not protect us from the evils that we passively condone.  It does not end our obligation to use our power and privilege, when we have it, to seek justice for all of us, nor does it alleviate our suffering when we don’t have privilege.  Our collective communication is the ultimate power to dismantle oppression. 

As we know in our work at The Guild, communication is not easy.  There are not always words that can name our suffering.  Sometimes our behaviors do the talking. Yet, “to refuse to listen to someone’s cries for justice and equality until the request comes in a language you feel comfortable with is a way of asserting your dominance over them in the situation” (Ijeoma Oluo, 2018).  The anger and fear that surround us today speak volumes; so too does the silence that has punctuated our collective consciousness between each act of heinous violence that is done in our names, by our government, our media, our neighbors, our friends.

Let our words and behaviors deliver our message.  The Guild shall not and will not be silent about human rights.  We shall speak out on behalf of all people, not only those with disabilities, because our rights are interdependent.  For those of us who are seeking the “right” words or the “right” actions, don’t wait for perfection. Instead, let’s seek conversation and make our mistakes out loud and in the daylight for all to witness so that we can repair them, learn from them, and honor the learning.  End the silence.

If you’re looking for ways to help students and individuals communicate about racism, consider the educational materials from  If you want to learn more for yourself, consider reading the words of others for inspiration; The Guild has purchased each of these titles, which are available to borrow.

  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Killing Rage, Ending Racism by bell hooks
  • How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  •  Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall
  • Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum
  • They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
  • When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandelle
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
  • The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E. Joseph.

As always, Guild supervisors are available to talk with staff about how racism and violence impact each of us, our residents, our students, and our community.  None of us has all of the answers; but, we can share the questions, concerns, and feelings then look for answers together. 


Amy Sousa

Chief Executive Officer

The Guild for Human Services