Clarity at the turning point ~thoughts on racism~

Dear Clients, Colleagues, Friends, and Family,

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, I marched. I was grateful for the right to protest, and unhappy that we had cause to do so. I joined my family, thousands of people in my community and across our nation and the world to stand up and be counted as an ally of black and brown people everywhere. The protest was black-led, it was youth-led, it was peaceful, it was inspiring, it was as diverse as America.

On the way home, we pulled off the road to watch the SpaceX launch. More inspiration, more pride in our nation’s innovation and spirit. For the adults, it was also nostalgic; for my six-and-three-quarter-year-old niece, it was a wide-eyed moment of surprise and excitement. We cheered.

By five p.m., the first reports of violence and rioting began to trickle in. Instigators, divisiveness, tear gas, rubber bullets. That night, I lay in my bed and wept. I wept for my country and for all of my fellow Americans.

This great rip in our democracy did not start with the tragic, senseless and preventable death of George Floyd at the hands of an officer, and his compatriots, who had sworn an oath to serve and protect all of us. George Floyd was not the first. The disregard for non-white human life was knitted into the fabric of our country long ago. And realistically, despite our very best efforts, Mr. Floyd will not be the last unjustified death in our country. My fervent hope is that it will mark a significant turning point in our nation’s trajectory.

My views on the issue of race in America have changed over the past 10 years. These changes came slowly. For me, understanding our world from another’s perspective—specifically a black person’s perspective—required an uncomfortable, sometimes painful admission that some things I had always taken for granted were simply not true. Harder yet is the current knowledge that even after years of mental wrestling, and speaking up as best I know how, I have only scratched the surface of understanding the inherent unfairness of the black experience in America, and its degrading, dehumanizing effects.

My good intentions and actions over the years, along with those of my family, friends, business colleagues, fellow citizens and the institutions we erected to serve us, are not enough. We have not created an environment where all people are treated equally, where all have an equal opportunity to strive, and to achieve, and where equal effort paired with equal skill can produce an equal outcome.

What is clear is that we must do more and we must do it differently.

Two Point Capital Management will approach this, as we approach investing, for the long term. Movements arise, but they do not succeed or mature overnight. We are beginning with a vow to listen more. We commit to actively search out people and organizations focused on dismantling systemic racism, and fostering the hard but necessary conversations that must happen now. We commit to be present for open and candid talk about racism and race relations.

We will learn from what we hear, and use that knowledge to expand our current actions to bring down barriers and uplift quality of life. We will use that knowledge to change our actions as necessary, and to do more, so that our pledge of zero tolerance for prejudice and discrimination is complete, and absolute. And we will share what we learn and what we’re doing, so you, and we, can hold us accountable.

We want to hear from you, as well.

What are your thoughts, and feelings, on this subject? What are you doing, how can we help, how can we collaborate to create a better world? Please feel welcome to reach out to me or any member of our team in the weeks and months ahead. Here is a link to open the conversation.

The movement toward equal justice is long. But recent actions are so blatant and clear that we must also act with urgency.

If not now, when?

We have, as you may know, long focused our financial resources and talent to help create healthy, thriving children; quality elementary education; an end to poverty; an end to racism; and the arts as a vehicle to achieve those goals.

On an immediate basis we are doubling our financial contribution for 2020 to The Avenue Blackbox Theatre and The Center for Teen Empowerment, two Rochester organizations engaging with predominantly black and brown children, many of whom struggle with poverty and the stress and trauma of life in a marginalized community.

We will also spotlight the work of both in our advertising on WXXI Public Radio, bringing them greater public exposure, and hopefully, support.

If you came to our Live a Richer Life 2019 Chard Fest, you met some of the young talent from The Avenue Blackbox Theatre. They were brave and eloquent in their performances. They have a platform and a voice because of Reenah Golden, The Avenue’s founder, a local and international “artivist” who brings an unparalleled passion to the development of the performing arts. For more than 20 years, she has used the stage to educate, affect social change. and create new ways of thinking. The Avenue is her latest leap of faith. It has already transformed the lives of countless children by bringing its light to the treasure that is its community. You can feel the vitality and spark on Joseph Avenue.

Perhaps you have joined us at one of Teen Empowerment’s unbelievably inspiring luncheons, where youth-led social change makes you believe that transforming the world is well within reach. Teen Empowerment youth leaders have been engaging wider circles of youth in Rochester for 18 years, and are poised to expand their reach across the City of Rochester. Next week, you will have the virtual opportunity to be inspired by the work of Teen Empowerment. Mark your calendars for noon to 1 pm this coming Wednesday, June 17; keep your eyes open for our invitation and link to the annual, now virtual, celebration.

If we hope to fulfill the promise that is America—a place where all are created equal and where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness isn’t limited to a select portion of our citizens—we must change, and we must do more.

The experiment we call America is based on the premise, and promise, that each of us is free to choose our own path. I know you already live lives that manifest so much of what makes our country great, but I invite you to join me on an accelerated path toward justice for all. Let us together increase our understanding, and the impact of our actions on all the people around us—those we know and care for now, and those we will be so fortunate to know and love tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Jack McGowan, CFA
Founder and CEO


Let’s start the conversation

P. S. We are happy to include more people in this conversation. Do you have friends, family, or colleagues whom you would like to invite? Please feel free to share or forward this email.

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