Statement on the Pandemic and Responses to It
As the leaders of the major philanthropic and non-profit membership organizations in New Jersey, representing both the wide range of non-profit groups and the multi-faceted funders of those groups, we feel compelled to speak out against the hateful responses we and our members have witnessed in reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Our country has seen countless examples of selfless sacrifice and good works over the past month, both on individual and institutional levels. We are proud that our members have been leaders in responding to the needs of our community.
But to our distress, some individuals have used the pandemic to put forward their bias and hatred toward their fellow citizens.
Times of crisis bring to the surface, on the part of some people, the need to scapegoat. Often, this takes the form of lashing out at particular groups, stirred up by inflamed rhetoric or more subtle code words or phrases, having no relationship to facts. In this time, there have been verbal and physical attacks against people of Asian and Pacific Islander background, as there were against Muslims after September 11 and against African-Americans and Latinos in countless other instances. This hatred and these attacks must stop.
The non-profit sector is the backbone of our communities, providing assistance and education to a wide range of people, in good times and especially challenging times. Many of these services are a lifeline to individuals of all backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and statuses in life. Non-profit organizations are the vehicle through which people can work together to selflessly assist others. People around the world view the United States as being unique in the breadth and depth of its charitable and philanthropic work, engaging the talents of all individuals, regardless of their economic or social status.
We call upon all people of good conscience in their good work to be alert for these hateful words and actions and to speak out against them, both as individuals and as organizations. Our language and our actions do matter. Everyone, but especially people in positions of public trust or prominence, has the obligation to use our works and our lives to assist all in need and to honor the dignity and potential of all those we meet. We call on not only our own members, but all individuals who serve and volunteer in our sector to join us in this effort to speak out against racism and hatred and to exemplify all the best that we know our country is.
William V. Engel
CNJG Board Chair
CNJG CEO and President
Gina M. Plotino
Center for Non-Profits Board Chair
Center for Non-Profits CEO and President