The world feels like it literally changed overnight. Now a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic—a scenario that was truly unimaginable as we came off the holiday season and into 2020 with such momentum—we’re addressing another kind of crisis in the U.S.: systematic racism and social injustices.
It’s no doubt overwhelming at times. But for me personally, stepping into the role of your NAWBO National Chair for 2020-2021 this month, I feel like I am in the right place, at the right time, to create real and lasting change alongside the smart and compassionate women leaders I am so proud to be surrounded by on the National Board, here in Texas where I reside and in our chapters across the country.
There are a few reasons why this role as your National Chair is so personal for me. For one, I lead a company, U.S. Safety Services, which provides the highest quality EMTs to Texas worksites and special events. Many worksites are still empty as employees continue to work remotely, and special events like concerts, sports and conventions remain on hold after being called off in the spring. I am experiencing the same pains as every member of NAWBO and am committed to lessening those for every one of us as we navigate this road to recovery together.
Secondly, I have seen first-hand the systematic racism and social injustices that have long been part of the American experience for my black and brown sisters. I have overcome many of those myself as a Latina woman, and worked hard to make them better for others. I have intentionally built a diverse business of women, military veterans, members of the LGBTQ community and people of color because I believe our differences make us stronger. I have also been proud to take part in working on our Diversity and Inclusion Priority Objective as part of the committee behind this initiative. Through our past efforts, we have heard the voices of our women of color members, and are continuing these conversations moving forward.
In this issue of NAWBO ONE, you’ll read about this important initiative that is intricately woven into our organizational strategy and decision-making. This includes the actions we’ve taken to date and what still lies ahead in our commitment to ensuring every woman sees herself in NAWBO. CEO Jen Earle also has a special video message for our black and brown women business owners to let them know we stand by them—and their lives matter.
If you look back throughout history, big, meaningful changes often result from times of crisis and uprising. Just consider the women’s suffrage movement that is celebrating 100 years of women’s right to vote in 2020. It took activists and reformers just as long—nearly a century—to win that right all women have today. I’m so honored to be in the right place, at the right time, to see even more big, meaningful changes unfold and to be part of the driving force behind them.