CenterState CEO Condemns Acts of Racial Injustice

The tragic deaths happening across our country – in particular the unmerited and incomprehensible killing of so many men and women of color – are simply unacceptable. These acts condemn our minority communities to live with fear, apprehension and anxiety on a daily basis – a trauma driven by divisions, fear and hatred that have been allowed to persist for far too long. CenterState CEO condemns these and all acts of hate, discrimination and injustice, and join so many others in their sorrow, anger and commitment to action.

This ongoing trauma has become too deeply woven in to the fabric of our daily lives, and weighs heavily on so many in our own community. It further divides us and prevents the realization of CenterState CEO’s vision for our community as a place where business thrive and people of all color, races, religions and sexual-orientations can prosper without fear of senseless death. Amidst the backdrop of the current public health crisis, a sharp rise in unemployment, and widespread economic uncertainty, these recent events further threaten our community’s mental health, well-being and social stability.

We cannot and will not be silent when actions such as these further divide our communities and cost people their lives. Our community has always risen above seemingly insurmountable challenges by working together towards a shared vision. This is a critical moment and we must lean in to the difficult task before us with that same steadfast resolve.

We have already seen this commitment to change play out in the many peaceful protests across the Central New York community this weekend. Our neighbors standing in solidarity, willing to say enough is enough and working to drive a better future together. It was also reinforced by those leaders who were on the streets Sunday morning to cleanup and restore our downtown. These leaders are lending their voice to this struggle, and we want them to know they are seen, heard and honored.

This moment provides an opportunity to recognize our respective roles in how we came to this place, and to advance the discourse in a way that creates a better community for all who live here. While the anger and frustration are understandable and valid, the destruction of our community at the hands of a select few will neither advance the cause of justice nor ensure that a better future is realized. Destruction and violence only further erode the vital drivers of our local economy and the hard working people that rely on them. Businesses, particularly small businesses, are a critical component of the very fabric of our community, and these employers and families have already faced real and tangible loss over the past months.

At this critical juncture, we must stand together to ensure the actions that got us to this moment never happen again. And that if they do, they are never met with silence. I ask you to join us in this effort, to be part of that dialogue, and to take your own steps to push back against this senseless and preventable injustice to help drive meaningful and lasting change that our communities of color deserve.

Robert M. Simpson
President & CEO