"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Tutu was articulating his understanding of ubuntu – a spiritual worldview that might be summed up as, “I am because we are.” Indeed, our humanity is bound up together; no one is truly separate from another. Realizing this means treating others with dignity and working to ensure that all are equipped with the same advantages in life. To do otherwise is really to deny or diminish our own humanity.
I acknowledge the steadfast and thoughtful work that ECS has committed to in seeking to expand this perspective by hiring me, an experienced nonprofit CEO who is the first Black woman head of the organization. My hire aspires to send the message to all those whose lives are touched by ECS that yes, everyone has inherent dignity and worth, and deserves to be invested in and represented. This would seem especially important at ECS, where many of the participants we work with are Black women. Representation matters because it is an outward sign of the eternal truth of our shared humanity.
Incidentally, I am also the first non-Episcopalian to lead ECS. I was raised Methodist, and faith informs all I do and how I see the world. My father was a minister serving the Methodist church. My adoption created an interracial family. My parents saw beyond boundaries to the humanity we share. They invested in me, and that has made me want to do the same for other people as my calling.
We can certainly mark and observe and even celebrate this moment in ECS history, but let's also get to work. The joy of an institution like ECS is that it puts at the center of the story the experiences of people who have been pushed to the edges by systemic racism, often over the course of generations. I am tremendously excited about leading ECS, and my career has prepared me well for this opportunity. I cannot wait to begin investing all the time, care, and knowledge I can into the people and communities we serve. Our humanity depends on it.