We have struggled this week to find the right words to address the pain, the fear, the anger and the confusion following the death of George Floyd. In a crisis, a natural tendency is to withdraw and protect. In this crisis, the future of our community depends on doing just the opposite. We need to engage – to listen, to learn, to support, and to lead.

As a Foundation, our mission is to build a stronger, more vibrant, resilient and equitable community for all. To do that, we have to truly hear and believe the experience, the emotion and the perspective of all our people.

We don’t have the answers. But I am convinced the answers are out there.  And we can find them if we work together in ways that are inclusive, responsible, and productive.

In the spirit of listening and learning, I commend to you the words of Tampa’s Brian Butler, who bravely shared his story and perspective in last Saturday’s Tampa Bay Times. To quote Brian, “We can open our eyes and ears wide and help make things better, or we can close them and face the consequences of inaction.”