Our Commitment to Anti-Racism & Equality: A Message from Bright Horizons CEO Stephen Kramer
June 19, 2020
A message from Bright Horizons CEO Stephen Kramer:
Bright Horizons Family,
The past few weeks have been filled with anger, hurt, and devastation. We’ve heard from so many in the Bright Horizons family on issues of race and racial justice. We’ve heard about experiences at Bright Horizons and experiences outside of work, and it is heartbreaking to know that so many people are hurting. At Bright Horizons, we are a family, and we must stand together in solidarity, in support of one another, in insistence that Black lives matter, and against racism in all its forms. And that starts right here in our own house.
We need to start by recognizing fundamentally that inclusion is not enough. Inclusion is an invitation for someone to the group, but real equality comes when we all choose to join each other. The starting place for how we treat each other as colleagues needs to go beyond simple acceptance. We need to embrace and celebrate what is unique and different about each one of us in order for everyone to be equally valued, respected and heard. At Bright Horizons, we also have the responsibility for educating the next generation, and with that comes the additional opportunity to make a difference by modeling for others a mindset that is open, curious, and genuinely interested in what is different.
We are focused on taking action to make real change, not for a moment in time, but for the long term. We are making the following commitments to you today:
- Leadership: By focusing on career development, recruiting, and ensuring a supportive culture, we will have better representation of Black women and men in leadership roles at Bright Horizons. We will be accountable to all of you and the Board of Directors, to whom we will regularly report on our progress.
- MLK Holiday: Beginning in 2021, Martin Luther King Day will replace what had been a floating holiday. We will all celebrate MLK Day to commemorate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement in America.
- Partnerships with HBCUs: We are committed to creating meaningful partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). EdAssist will start by making the addition of HBCUs to our Horizons Teacher Degree Program a top priority. We will also work toward partnerships with these schools to aid in recruiting and leadership development.
- College Coach Scholarships: We are creating a scholarship program to extend the free College Coach counseling benefit (academic and financial advisory services) that we currently provide to our own employees to economically disadvantaged Black students in the communities where we live and work.
- Employee Advisory Groups: We will further invest in our Employee Advisory Groups and expand opportunities for engagement through honest conversation. The African Heritage Advisory Group has already begun these discussions on Race in America. Bright Horizons needs to continue to be a safe place for everyone to share their voice and concerns, and we need to be sure these opportunities are available and accessible to all.
- Education and Training: In addition to our existing mandatory training, we will be launching new education and training on unconscious bias and anti-racism. We will hold everyone accountable for what they learn and how they act.
- Classroom Curriculum: Our Education and Development team will be working even harder with a fresh lens to ensure our educators have the resources and training they need to teach more than inclusion. Our curriculum will ensure we are growing children to be anti-racist and to stand proud as a new generation who can lead us to a better future. We will also make these resources available to other educators in our field.
Finally, we are committed to the fact that this is just a beginning. Recent events are just that – recent – but they are not new. Centuries of systemic bias and inequity will not be undone with one gesture, no matter how grand, or through one generation, no matter how bold. But we cannot be deterred in our journey to make real and lasting differences and to never let up. We are determined to do our part as an organization and as individuals, and we encourage everybody to do something.
Speak up. Listen. Teach. Ask questions. Vote. Protest. Donate. Educate. Learn. Care. Change lives. Together we can make a lasting difference in the world.