Ottawa ON, May 20, 2021 – Cornerstone, along with many in our community celebrated after hearing the guilty verdict for murder and manslaughter handed down to the now former Minneapolis police officer on April 20, 2021 who caused the death of George Floyd. We along with many, for a moment, breathed a sigh of relief. However, very quickly afterwards we were called back to recognize that the work of changing the world into a place where all people’s lives can be celebrated and deemed valuable continues. As individuals we cannot change the world but as an organization – Cornerstone, together, can do our part, engaging in the process of making changes for the good in our small corner of the community, stretching out to those beyond our walls and being an example through action.
On May 25, 2020 thousands around the world witnessed the brutality and heard the virtual echo of the cries of George Floyd saying “I can’t breathe.” In these last moments of his life these words in many ways symbolized the numerous silent cries of racialized people in our society who are not acknowledged, misunderstood, discriminated against and all in all not valued. After seeing and hearing the outcry of many, members of Cornerstone’s staff heard a call to action.
A call to action to examine our organization as we work with a vulnerable population and become aware of and challenge the truths of where we lack in abilities to offer safe places for true inclusivity and acceptance of all women – staff and residents in our community. In our response to this call initially an informal working group to address diversity, inclusion, equity, gender and racial justice was started to begin this process.