My fellow members,
The first half of 2020 has tested and traumatized us.
While our nation is still struggling to overcome the recent threat of the coronavirus pandemic, our communities are wrestling with a much older, much deadlier plague. The death of George Floyd while in police custody has further opened the wounds of racial and social injustice that has poisoned our country for far too long. The protests that followed have demonstrated the urgent need to do more, to do better, to listen deeply, and to stop accepting the violation of basic human dignity as normal.
Voices that have been ignored for too long are calling for action that is long overdue. We hear you.
It should go without saying, yet, we live in a world where it still needs to be said: Coastal is proud to support our Black community in the fight against injustice in every form. One hundred percent. Credit unions were started as a tool for social change and justice, and that remains at the very core of why we continue to exist today. But, our history is not enough.
There’s more we can do, and will do.
First, we need to listen and then take action to ensure that every one of our employees, members, and people meeting us for the first time feels a sense of belonging at Coastal. Welcoming Diversity is one of our core values, and one of the operating principles that guides all cooperatives. As part of that commitment, we are currently holding listening sessions available to all employees, so that they can be heard, and can feel empowered to become advocates for the community we serve. We want to have the right conversations, not just the easy ones. What we learn will improve how we deliver on the promise of diversity, inclusion and belonging for all.
Then, just as we did with COVID-19, we will support resources in our community that have the expertise and ability to affect social justice beyond our own walls, so that we can help have a positive effect right now. To help achieve this, Coastal is contributing $100,000, split between the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the Triangle Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee. Both organizations are locally based and well-equipped to work toward the progress we all seek.
Finally, we need to stand together as one community. I ask each of you to join us in solidarity with our Black friends, family, neighbors and fellow members against all forms of racial injustice. Our past experiences have not all been the same, but we assure you our futures are intertwined. Let’s stand together, because regardless of who we are, we’re all hurting when we are not unified.
After all, unity is what being a credit union member is all about.
Chuck Purvis, President & CEO