Minnesotans’ hearts have been heavy this month. The recent killing of another young Black person at the hands of police while we waited with heavy anticipation for the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was more than our collective souls could take. With the killing of Daunte White, we were tragically reminded yet again inequalities and injustices will not go away overnight. And while the guilty verdict brings some closure, it is yet just another step on in the journey and a reminder of the work that still remains.
At the Minnesota Credit Union Network, we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring our movement together as a force for change. I encourage all credit unions to cooperatively leverage our unique business model to expand financial inclusion, to advance Financial Well-being for All.
The world has been watching Minnesota, but the challenges we are experiencing are not unique to us. Across the country, people are navigating trauma that others can only begin to imagine. But remember – credit unions began as a social movement to advance economic equality and financial inclusion, particularly for marginalized communities. Our values and the credit union model position us to be an active participant in developing solutions to current disparities.
I challenge all of us to hold steadfast to the notion that the richness and growth of our system will come from the diverse values, beliefs, and lived experiences of those within our credit unions and within our communities. Diversity, equity, and financial inclusion are fundamental to a vibrant, relevant, and growing credit union movement. Diversity of thought is also to be celebrated – it leads to open and meaningful conversations that can propel our movement forward.
Have those tough conversations. Not only to listen – but to actually hear. Keep learning. Keep DEI and financial inclusion efforts on your strategic plan and in boardroom conversations. Now is the time to be open with your staff and learn from them. Leverage collective resources and the cooperation among cooperatives happening in our industry. Connect with community leaders to identify and help address the true needs of those marginalized. Be intentional. Be strategic. Build on the momentum of this moment.
Let’s show the world that together, we can impact meaningful and long-term change. Now is the time.