Santa Cruz County Chamber Statement on Racial Equality
After the tragic and gut-wrenching events that have occurred in our country, the Santa Cruz County Chamber board stated, “Enough is Enough!” We are stunned and heartbroken, and like so many concerned people, we’ve struggled to put into words a message from the business community that resonates with compassion and common sense. The horrific deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are just the latest in a long list of murders that are rooted in racial injustice.
Cities across our country and beyond experienced protests and demonstrations never imagined — a global expression of anger, frustration, and emotional action by young and old and from all ethnic backgrounds gathering and marching to a new drumbeat calling out for change. Black Lives Matter.
The Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce has nearly 600 members that include ever industry sector in the county from single business owners to small business operations, non-profit organizations and large employers that employ over 23,000 people in Santa Cruz County. Collectively, we will not tolerate social inequality, race baiting and haters, and those who wish to destroy the very fiber of what Santa Cruz County is all about.
I am writing today as the CEO of the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce to offer an optimistic message — one of compassion for all people regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or economic status. I follow in a long line of Chamber executives that for 131 years have been the voice of the business community. We do not shy away from any challenge that impacts the very nature of Santa Cruz County’s social values. The Chamber stands for unbiased support for all of our businesses, non-profits and public sector agencies and for all of their employees, loyal patrons and customers. We cannot and will not stand idle in the wake of racial and social inequity.
The Chamber’s mission is to promote economic vitality for our region every day — creating job growth; creating more affordable housing; creating more access to opportunity and education to help our lower-income communities so that all have a path to prosperity; providing support for broadband access and addressing the root causes of racial inequities in actionable ways.
I’ve been asked, “What are chamber members doing to address the issue of racial and social equity?” Each Chamber member has her or his own example of how to address social inequality in the workplace. They choose to stand firm against racial prejudice and treat employee and customer fairly and equally. The clear and unequivocal position is no one should face discrimination in any form. Every Chamber member stands for justice and works to support all members of our community without regard to race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military and veteran status, and any other characteristic that might be used to discriminate. The Chamber has been an engaged community partner since 1889 and we will continue to lead through positive example that our county is a place for all.