A Message To The Community

By Gerry Stryker, John Knox Village President & CEO

For the past 53 years, John Knox Village has been an active, civic-minded community partner in South Florida.

As we face these unprecedented times in our country’s history, I have come to the conclusion that silence is not an option. After listening to the media, listening to conversations at JKV among staff, residents and within my own family, I felt compelled to write and acknowledge the injustice around the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Diversity Is The Basis Of Humanity

Racism has been going on for a long time. Now it can be filmed. Now people discuss it openly. The expressions of “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” are personal to me. My family is diverse. My sister is married to a wonderful Black man she met over 20 years ago. Our family was blessed when they gave birth to a baby girl named Faith. Faith, now 15, has been an activist for justice, equality and against bullying in her local upstate New York community.

John Knox Village CEO Gerry Stryker shares a message of unity and understanding for the community and beyond.

JKV’s President & CEO Gerry Stryker (right) shares a visit to Disney World with his 15-year-old niece Faith.

My oldest niece married a talented Black man who is an accomplished police officer for the York Police Department in Pennsylvania. They gave birth to Alex, a handsome young boy, who at two years of age is curious to what these moments and expressions mean.

A recent CBS poll was shared during a Sunday episode of CBS News Sunday Morning. The survey question was, “Compared to Life today, the future of the next generation will be…?”

The data revealed:

  • Better 28%
  • Worse 47%
  • The Same 20%

These results are very concerning to me. Our commitment to action is important! Many of us are soul-searching, having tough, uncomfortable conversations with ourselves and one another.

Oprah Winfrey shared recently, “It is incumbent on all of us to not just be outraged when we see injustice. It is not enough to just say it is so terrible. We need to speak up and say that will not happen on my watch. We’re going to do the work that it takes, to dismantle in our own way.”

That is how we can begin to make real change happen. Change starts with accountability, to ourselves and those around us. We all have a part to play in transforming the big picture.

Martin Luther King wanted everyone to have a voice. He was quoted sharing, “It’s not the violence of the few that scares me, it’s the silence of the many.”

My Wish To Change The Culture

Please join me in this commitment of changing the culture of “Us Versus Them.”

To making a difference with human dignity.

That “good will” is within all our hearts.

So, when we respond to the question, “What kind of country do you want to live in?”

We respond, “A country that respects and achieves equality for all.”

JKV Directors and Managers have been scheduling team meetings with an agenda focusing on Racial Injustices in our country, state, city and, of course, the Village. We are working directly with local not-for-profit organizations on this initiative that is having a direct impact on our local future generations.

Please read the accompanying story in this month’s Gazette about first steps JKV is taking to address this issue of great importance.

With gratitude and respect,

 

Gerry Stryker

President & CEO John Knox Village

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