The Veteran Community Needs to Be Better
To hear how many of our Black colleagues, volunteers and partners have felt unsafe and unsupported before and during this time was a wake-up call to those of us who aspire to be allies, advocates, accomplices and even co-conspirators. It is heartbreaking. We are humbled by your candor, vulnerability and willingness to be your authentic selves and to share your truth with us.
It is critically important for the veteran community to be better. That starts with acknowledging that racism exists, and that we are not doing enough to combat it.
In the military we served, lived and fought alongside brothers and sisters across a diverse spectrum of race, color and ethnicity. But striving for diversity is not enough. Service in the military didn’t inherently prepare us to be inclusive or to be anti-racist. As a veterans’ organization, inclusion matters because we know that when people experience inclusion and belonging, the team is stronger—and that creates more impactful program outcomes and lasting community connections.
We are not asking our Black colleagues, partners, friends or family members to educate us on the issues. We own the responsibility to educate ourselves and, for those of us that are part of the white majority, we are going to need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. This is our fight.
Racism, bigotry and hatred will find no quarter in our ranks. The Mission Continues welcomes veterans, volunteers, and supporters who are committed to—or willing to deepen their understanding of—the values we share to support equity, inclusion and justice. For those who do not share those values, our organization is not the place for you. We commit to do everything in our power to eradicate racism from our ranks and unequivocally refuse to remain neutral or silent when we see it.
Mary Beth Bruggeman
President, The Mission Continues