A Message from NIA Senior Leadership
These are difficult times for our country. During a global health emergency, when our communities are facing uncertainty about how we will fare in the days to come, a tragedy in Minneapolis has reminded us yet again about deep-seated problems in the way policing is happening in America. What we witnessed in Minneapolis and in our other cities is cruel and unjustifiably endangers the lives of African-Americans.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer who has now been charged with murder, is an inerasable crime resulting from not only inexcusable prejudices in the law enforcement organization that created the conditions for an officer to commit murder, but the injustices that permeate our country, cloud our vision, and destroy lives.
We join with other organizations and countless concerned Americans that have expressed outrage at the murder of George Floyd, and our heart goes out to the victim’s family including his partner, Roxie Washington, and their 6-year old daughter, Gianna.
We recognize this is not an isolated incident and we are saddened that George Floyd’s name joins that of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and other victims of racial violence—appallingly, the growing list is too long to fit in any letter. African-Americans face substantial barriers to equal justice and treatment in our country. The documented murder of African-Americans by police is a harrowing statistic, and even then statistics do not tell the full story of the impact on lives, families, and communities living every day in fear of police brutality.
That individuals would risk their personal health during a pandemic to add their voices to a chorus of protest demonstrates how uninhabitable, suffocating, and toxic it is to live with police brutality. These protests bring light to the pent-up fear and anguish that is felt by people all over this country.
Americans demand to know why this is happening and when it will end. There is only one answer Americans will accept: Now. An earlier generation recognized the problem and it was documented by the Kerner Commission appointed by President Johnson over 50 years ago: “This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”
How this crisis comes to an end is in the hands of our current elected officials and the police forces and other instruments of government they control. The Editorial Board of the New York Times reminds all of us that in America, protest is patriotic: “Just a few weeks ago, the police demonstrated remarkable forbearance as heavily armed groups turned out in several state capitals to oppose coronavirus-related public health measures. Now the police are demonstrating an equally remarkable intolerance to protests against their own behavior.” The same intolerance is being exhibited at the highest levels of our government resulting in a curtailment of the First Amendment right to free speech and an escalation of violence against peaceful protest that is exacerbating this tragedy.
In our republic we elect our representatives at the national, state and local levels to do the business of creating a more just society, founded on high revolutionary ideals and governed by laws that treat everyone equally. But accountability also rests in other organizations, corporate, nonprofit, and educational. It is long past time for those in positions of influence to have said enough. We stand with Americans courageous enough to demand change.
But how this crisis is used to solve what ails our country is in the hands of us all. Our future depends on how we treat each other, our rejection of intolerance and racism, and our ceaseless demand for more economic equity and civic equality. We must actively resist racism in our everyday actions by speaking up against racism in any form, subtle or obvious, where ever we see it. Racism is perpetrated through the silence of the many more than the evil actions of a few. Standing passively by is no longer an option for any of us. To quote from the Kerner Commission report, “Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American.”
An earlier generation of Americans, from all walks of life, helped to end the Vietnam War by decrying “not in our name.” This is our time to stand-up and work for a better future for ourselves, our children, and future generations.
Pamela E. Davis
Founder, President and CEO
Chief Financial Officer
A. Ren Agarwal
Chief Marketing Officer
Chief People Officer
Thomas J. Bakewell
Chief Information Officer
Chief Claims Officer
Brian E. Johnson
Chief Underwriting Officer
Chief Risk Officer