ANN ARBOR – The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) released a letter from its CEO, Matt Carpenter today regarding racial equality.
To Our Community,
These are difficult times. In addition to a global pandemic, the killing of George Floyd illustrates that the reality of America still does not measure up to the ideals on which our society was founded – that all of us are created equal. I wanted to take this time to share with you where TheRide stands on equality.
Racism or discrimination of any sort is morally repugnant and has no place at TheRide. Systemic racism is a stain on our society and should be rooted out wherever it exists. There is no uncertainty or hesitation about these beliefs.
I am proud to work for an organization that has already done much in the fight for equality:
- For years, our Board has required that staff and passengers be treated fairly and protected from discrimination (and demands proof of this every year),
- Since 2018 all staff have received anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training,
- We regularly meet every legal requirement for preventing discrimination,
- Our staff-developed corporate values from 2019 (Respect, Compassion, and Integrity) reinforce that our team demands equality.
- Our very mission – to connect people – makes us one of the most powerful forces of integration in Washtenaw County.
While myself and our employees should be proud, like many of you I am forced to ask myself “Is it enough?” When I watch the videos and see the people in the streets, I am outraged, heartbroken, and confused. Is it enough? No. It is not.
I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I can ensure you that TheRide is doing everything it can, not just what it must. Racism and hate are corruptions of the soul and cannot be banished with new laws or a memo. Genuine compassion is at the heart of real change. Like many of you I am inspired to do more, listen more, be uncomfortable more.
TheRide stands with our community in the fight for greater equality and justice. Our focus is how we treat each other, how we treat our customers, and how we can help our society overcome hate.