The disturbing events that unfolded in our nation’s capitol have unnerved many Americans as well as many of our country’s global allies. This attack on our democracy, our elected officials in Congress and on our rules of law was inspired by conspiracy theories, misinformation, systemic racism, organized denial, and tragically, incited by the holder of the highest office in our land – our current President. This attack was further fueled by more than 100 members of the United States Congress who placed these conspiracies about our fair election process above the will of the majority of Americans. Every American has the right to protest and have their voices heard in a democratic society. We do not have a right to incite violence, spread conspiracy theories or encourage attacks against those that might disagree with them.
Long Island Cares, Inc. – The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank was founded 40 years ago by an American songwriter, musician and social activist. Harry Chapin and his family, along with others stood up and spoke out in support of those in our country struggling with poverty, systemic racism, economic hardships, and the other root causes of hunger. In establishing Long Island Cares, Inc. he sought a solution to a problem he referred to as; “The Shame of America.” In developing our organizations’ policies and profile, he recognized that along with providing emergency food assistance, our organization needed to address these root causes of hunger, and that as a staff working with our board members we had an obligation to speak out and call attention to acts of injustice, discrimination, and the incitement of illegal acts of violence. You cannot lift people up if we allow others to hold them down from achieving the American dream and a more prosperous way of life. Long Island Cares, Inc. is a safe haven for many people in need. We are recognized for our inclusive corporate culture, our focus on putting people first, and taking calculated risks to improve the quality of life for people in need regardless of their race, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, citizenship status or political ideology. It is our corporate culture and the legacy of our founder that will continue to encourage me as CEO to speak out when there is a need to engage in what the late Congressman John Lewis termed, “Good Trouble.”
During this time of uncertainty, I understand that many people are anxious and concerned about their personal safety, and the safety of their family and community. As we continue to adjust to life under a pandemic that continues to ravage our nation, we will remain focused on our work, the well-being of our neighbors in need, and the safety and happiness of our staff and volunteers.
Seeing the images of our Capitol Building under siege and watching members of Congress have their offices vandalized and being led to safe and undisclosed locations was heartbreaking to all of us that love our country and value our freedoms. This unlawful attack on our democracy cannot happen again. Americans must not forget this event or the names and titles of people who encouraged these unlawful acts of terrorism against our nation. This has been the saddest day in our recent history including, the events of 9/11. I am hopeful that the incoming administration will take the necessary actions to restore peace and integrity to not only the American people but also the Democratic process.