This Isn’t Normal, And It Shouldn’t Be.

Carolyn Berkowitz
ACCP President and CEO

To the ACCP Community,

The past ten days have been difficult ones as we’ve watched innocent people and children going about their daily lives massacred by gun violence in Buffalo and Uvalde. Like you, we feel profoundly sad, angry, and helpless. It seems it never ends, especially as these stories heighten the fear of racially motivated violence.

These last two weeks are not normal – even as tragedies become more frequent. They should never feel normal to us. We’re busy, working against deadlines and checking things off our lists, but how can we push through the busyness with no time to process what’s happened; what continues to happen? As citizens of the world, tragedies like these should not breeze by us and go on business-as-usual.  It is not usual.  To be deeply upset and distracted is to care about humanity.

As I process what I – and the ACCP community – can do at this moment, I’ve decided to start with something very simple – to care for ourselves and the people around us at home, at work, and in the community. I urge us all to take time in the coming days to process our hurt, connect with our communities, seek spirituality, or just rest. These stories must not become distractions from doing something more important than thinking about them.

As CSR professionals, we are already being asked, “what should our company do?” and “what are other companies doing?” We’re heading into emergency meetings and crisis conversations to stem the steady questioning of our stakeholders. Is the ongoing war in Europe already on the back burner?

As a profession, we are tired. For the past few years, we have been asked to answer questions and recommend solutions for the world’s most non-retractable and existential evils – disease, racism, war, and inhumanity – far too often. I’ve seen your remarkable judgment, decisions, actions, and resiliency on display time and again as you have been the engines behind your companies’ responses to these seemingly unanswerable questions.

ACCP is closing our virtual office today so our teammates can process the hurt and care for those closest to them. And ACCP is collecting information for you on what other companies and nonprofits are doing in response to the barrage of gun violence. We commit to sharing them with you in our online community as quickly as we learn about them. Moving forward, ACCP is thinking about the implications for our organization and our voice and the nature of our role in advocacy in support of our members.  We want to hear from you – as a support organization to CSR professionals, what role might ACCP play in helping to stem gun violence? Send me an email with your thoughts or to connect.

But first, please take care of yourself and your special people. Like an oxygen mask on a plane, let’s put it on ourselves first and then help our companies. Please know that we see you and recognize the weight of your responsibilities in leading complicated responses in these challenging moments. Your work has been nothing short of admirable.

Thank you for your submission.