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Message from IAEE DC Chapter Chair - June 2020

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

On May 25, 2020, amidst the world’s worst pandemic in over 100 years, an unarmed black man was murdered by a group of police officers in broad daylight.  Sadly, this wasn’t an isolated incident.  George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others before them have brought into focus the stark inequities and racism that are inherent in the processes that are meant to protect people in this country.   While we cannot bring these individuals back, we can speak up for them and everyone else who has been treated unfairly and unjustly in a country that has lost its focus on equality, life, and liberty.  

IAEE-DC is the largest IAEE chapter in the nation.   We take pride in the diversity of the people we serve and our community of a very tight knit, connected industry of passionate individuals who love what we do.   Everyday, I am honored to be a part of it.  But the last few weeks, I have had to reflect on how I can do so much better as an leader in our industry, to use the platform that I have to raise awareness for unacceptable behavior and make a stand against police brutality, injustice and racism in our country.  We live in the Nation’s capital.  Our leaders are here, within miles of us all, and we can use our voices to make a difference, to change what has been allowed and tolerated for far too long.   

I have been so inspired by the peaceful protests across the country and the world.  I know I cannot fully understand what it means to be black in America.  But I am committed to keeping Black Lives Matter relevant and on the top of minds during my time as the IAEE DC Chair and hopefully throughout the tenure of those who follow after me.   I promise to listen, to learn, and to promote events and causes that stand up for equality every opportunity I have, including working with the nominating committee to make sure we are finding the best, most diverse Board of Directors to lead us in the future.   And within my personal life, I will do better.  I have committed to talking to my two teenaged children.   My kids continue to educate me, to tell me what they see, what isn’t acceptable to them and how they want to use their voice, their platform, to make change.   We have made a pact together to be a part of the solution.

Many of us have been hit exceptionally hard by COVID-19 and its effects on the hospitality industry.  We all have had front row seats to the worst downturn in our industry in decades.   As we continue to look towards the opening up of facilities and staging of events, we can use this time to speak out against racism.   There are many ways to engage and support this movement.  Here you can find one of many Resources from Beyond the Streets on how we can stand up against and help change the systemic racism in our country.  Let your voice be heard and speak for everyone else who doesn’t have the opportunity to make change.  Yes, you can make a difference.

Paula Herz, CEM
2020 Chapter Chair

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