We stand with you. Black Lives Matter.
George Floyd’s murder by police officers has shaken us, like the rest of the world. This week, as we try to keep working to improve our ecosystems, quality of life, and communities, what’s been forefront in our minds has been the river of blood from a history of injustice to the Black community.
For far too long, the Black community has been wrongfully targeted by the institutions that are supposed to protect them. And for far too long, a segment of society that is privileged enough to look away, has turned a blind eye to systemic racism. This cannot continue. We are proud to see people of all backgrounds coming together to display their anger and frustration. We support demands for greater institutional and societal changes that are essential to ending extradjudicial murder like what happened with Mr. Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. However, we must not only look to others to enact change. Each of us must look internally.
At Princeton Hydro, our deep-seated, shared motivator, which we call our “why” statement (right), drives us to make the world a better place everyday. We stand with our clients and allies, like American Rivers, who believes that “fighting for rivers means fighting for justice” and National Audubon Society who understands that “the outdoors – and the joy of birds – should be safe and welcoming for all people.” We believe in positive change, both for our environment and for our people.
It is important that we reflect internally to understand how we can improve our small business and live up to our core value of a “positive working environment” for all. Princeton Hydro’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Steering Committee, an internal team of scientists, engineers, and administrators, suggested that we deem Martin Luther King, Jr. Day an official Day of Service for staff, and we listened.
So, Princeton Hydro is changing our company policy to observe MLK Day as a “Day of Service,” which will allow for employees to choose to spend the day volunteering instead of coming into work. We believe this small change is important to celebrate the civil rights leader’s legacy and to continue to give back to our local communities. Since Princeton Hydro’s inception, we have been committed to serving our communities each and every day. We remain devoted to this goal, as it is an integral part of our day-to-day operations.
The JEDI Steering Committee was founded to promote diversity and inclusion within Princeton Hydro. We recognize that our offices and our industry are underrepresented with people of color, creating an inaccurate representation of our society as a whole. Prejudice goes far beyond our government institutions, and the first step to solving any problem is acknowledging it exists. We acknowledge that we are all guilty of unconscious bias in our homes, our schools, and our workplaces. That is why we, as professionals who have the privilege of working in the fields of science and engineering, are continually educating ourselves on how to honor our responsibilities in making our profession welcoming and obtainable for people of all backgrounds.
We cannot afford to cover our ears and close our minds. We believe that each and every one of us has work to do to fight racism and promote justice. People from all backgrounds have now taken to the streets to demand reform within policy agencies around the country. That is why our small business has committed to donating to organizations that are on the ground fighting for justice and equality, as well as planning sustainable and resilient communities for the most vulnerable people.
During the month of June, we will be matching employee donations, up to a total of $1,000, for the following nonprofits, and we hope you will consider donating as well:
- The Bail Project
- Campaign Zero
- Know Your Rights Legal Defense Initiative
- New Jersey Future
- Overbrook Youth Environmental Stewards
- Southern Poverty Law Center
We recognize that this is only a first step toward actively working to dismantle these very deep rooted, unjust systems. We urge you to take a first step too, whether that be donating, volunteering, voting, signing petitions, etc. It is always the time to act, but this time, we have no choice. We cannot successfully do good for our planet, our shared home, without valuing and protecting its people. All people.
We look forward to building a better future for our people and for our planet, together.
Yours in the movement,