First, I must apologize for my silence over the past week. Insurance Nerds was created as a place to share career advice and shape the discussion around culture and education within insurance organizations. But, we have grown into a community of insurance professionals, and we have a platform that reaches many in our industry. Tony, Taryn, Rob, and I have been in contact over the past week, and we are all heartbroken by the state of our nation. I, personally, am in St. Paul, Minnesota. I have watched my community struggle with the murder of George Floyd in our “Twin City”, Minneapolis, and I have watched as civil unrest broke out in our cities, and one of our police precincts was burnt to the ground. The National Guard was activated and occupied our cities. I listened as Blackhawk helicopters flew over my apartment building to monitor from the sky. Finding the words to say to our Insurance Nerds community has not been easy. I sat in front of my computer staring at a blank page for longer than I care to admit.
But, this is not about me. It is not about the difficulties I have faced this past week. I am safe. I am privileged, and this discomfort and fear that I’m feeling is nothing compared to the fear Black Americans live with on a daily basis. I realize that I will never understand that experience, and I will not pretend to speak for them. Additionally, it is not even about the Twin Cities in Minnesota, as our country is built on the backs of slavery and has continued to be a racist country. For some time, violence against Black Americans has been in the news regularly. Immediately prior to the murder of George Floyd, the United States was already reeling from the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the weaponization of police against Christina Cooper. Even today, the list of people injured or killed in officer-related events continues to grow.
Insurance Nerds has never commented on these matters in the past. We will no longer hold our tongues about racism in any form. To start the conversation, I will share some resources at the end of this post for those of us who do not have lived experience as the subject of racism, and I would love if all of our readers, specifically those of our readers who are not black, would read and watch these materials. Conversations, difficult and uncomfortable ones, are necessary to work toward rectifying the situation our country is in. We must work together to overcome systemic racism.
This week, we have also seen incredible police brutality in our streets. Police are human, and as individuals, they almost certainly were not prepared for the chaos that erupted in our streets (though they likely should have been), so I’m not going to pretend to understand how they or their families are feeling either. What I do know is that the system that is in place that allows police to treat citizens as enemy combatants is not the system I want to live under. We must begin to evaluate what we have built and determine how all Americans can truly be free and safe.
Insurance Nerds will be looking to engage with these topics on two levels as we move forward. First, solely as humans, we want to acknowledge the history of our nation and actively work to open our readers’ eyes to systemic racism. We believe that individual stories and actions can make a difference and can lead to lasting change. Second, as insurance professionals, we want to consider how our industry can play a role in breaking down systemic racism. We have seen ideas such as adding exclusions to liability policies, requiring anti-racism trainings before issuing commercial policies, and improving diversity and inclusion within our organizations. We hope that our community will engage with us on these topics, and we hope that along with these conversations, we find ways to work in our local communities to enact the changes we envision. Find time to volunteer, donate funds, and be vocal at home, on social media, and at work when you see something that ought to change.
We stand with Black Lives Matter.
- To understand the situation in Minneapolis. Your city likely has a similar history, but this is an important primer for the context of what happened here:
- To review the most recent events leading up to our current state
- To educate yourself on becoming Anti-Racist
- To understand systemic racism
- To understand white privilege
- To rethink public safety
- To find somewhere to donate