The events of the past few days and months have often left me with an overwhelming sense of sadness – for our country and the city that I love – because over the course of years and decades, we have not taken the opportunity to effect real change after witnessing unspeakable horror. While the catalyst for recent events was the brutal death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police – we have borne witness to events like this too often to ignore. Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor are just a few of the Black Americans whose lives were taken from them because we live in a country that continues to be plagued with systemic racism and discrimination.
I cannot help hoping for better days ahead for all of us, but I also recognize that this day is unlikely to come until all people in our city and in the nation are treated without bias or discrimination. While sadly the names change, there is a devastating sameness in these issues of social injustice. The time has come that we must demand more than accountability, and this starts with us – we must make the changes we seek.
Of the many thoughts I’ve had over the last few days I keep coming back to this one – Spark has always prided itself in its determination to break barriers and do things that others thought were impossible. I believe many of you came to work at Spark for exactly this reason – and I believe we must bring this same passion to our efforts to end racism and social injustice.
Over the coming weeks, as a first step, we will host a series of round tables with employees to listen and learn. We will take these learnings to channel our justifiable outrage and sadness into action for Spark and our hometown of Philadelphia as well as the surrounding communities where each of us live. I have spoken often of my love for Philadelphia, it’s energy and diversity. It has had a rich history in our country’s fight for independence and I believe it can play a significant role in how we move forward. Together, we must spark that change.