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Responding to Racism: A Letter to Our Community

ServiceMaster Reastoration staff

 

To Our Wonderful Customers, the Chicagoland Community, and Beyond: 

As an African-American female business-owner, I am saddened by the many, many ways that the oppression of minority groups is woven into the fibers of our country. From police brutality to a justice system that disproportionately affects Blacks, it has been clear for a long time that we have much work to do. Through education, speaking out, donations, and legislation, every one of us is responsible for driving change so that we may see a more inclusive society that values human life equally — regardless of skin color. 

Business owners are absolutely not exempt from this responsibility. With customers who are counting on us and employees who look to us to lead, we must actively stand for what’s right in the pursuit of justice for all. For my part, I have made sure that ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons is, has been, and always will be committed to inclusivity and social justice. I strive to maintain an open, transparent, and tolerant work environment so that everyone feels included, valued, and comfortable. Our employees and I remain true to our mission for a racism-free world through our daily actions, our respect for all cultures, and our inclusion of all voices in the room. We lead by example by condemning and addressing systemic oppression, disallowing intolerance to enter our workplace, and challenging our own biases on a daily basis. Above all else, we do what’s right — even if it’s not the easy choice. 

Our customers allow us into their homes, businesses, and lives. We know the immense amount of trust this requires, and we are so grateful and honored to be chosen by our customers time and time again for their restoration needs. Now, more than ever, we are committed to serving all of our customers with the respect, kindness and inclusivity that we hope to see in the greater world. During these turbulent times when so many people in our city and country are divided and experiencing feelings of grief, pain, anger, and frustration, we are here for our customers with the kind of quality service and compassion that they deserve. 

Changing fundamentally broken social systems is difficult, to say the least. There is no doubt it will take hard work to eradicate the centuries of racism, inequality, racial profiling, and stereotyping that Black and Brown communities (as well as many other minority groups) have endured. But, there has never been a better time to begin taking meaningful steps towards a societal transformation. Now is the time to channel words and feelings into concrete actions that create an awakening and drive lasting, positive change. 

Many customers and business owners are asking what they can do to make an impact. While I can’t speak to what will ensure worldwide success, I can share what I’ve done to create an environment of inclusivity in my business and personal lives:

  • Move away from thinking that small-scale acts of support on an individual level cannot make real difference. This is simply untrue. Every voice matters when advocating for what’s right and just. 
  • Constantly challenge your own biases and encourage those around you (including employees) to do so, as well. Continue to strive for a better understanding of the Black community and how racism/oppression infiltrates daily life in America through ongoing reading and education. Seek out learning opportunities and take them at every chance. To get started, check out this list of great resources, and this list of great books to read. 
  • Donate, if you have the means to. Here’s a great list of organizations that have long been fighting systemic oppression and supporting Black lives and communities. And remember, donating does not have to be monetary: You can also donate your time, energy, and supplies in supporting the cause.  
  • Give attention to Black-owned businesses. While it can’t ensure equality of opportunity that’s on-par with White-owned businesses, your money will make a huge difference in uplifting them. 
  • For employers, make these crucial ten commitments in order to advance racial justice and ensure your workplace is inclusive. The goal is to decrease explicit and implicit bias and discrimination in your commitment to providing an inclusive environment for your employees. 

Now, as always, our company stands with those who have suffered at the hands of injustice. ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons will not tolerate any degree of intolerance as we carry out our work. I am personally committed to doing my part in the fight against racial injustice, and I hope you are too. Let’s wake up to systemic oppression and work to end racism, as hate has no home here. 

 

Sincerely, 

Nasutsa Mabwa

President, ServiceMaster Restoration by Simons