We have always been essential.
By A.G. Rhodes CEO Deke Cateau

As a black man who leads one of Atlanta’s oldest and largest nonprofits comprised of a predominantly black workforce, I join many others who are angry, hurt, sad, confused, and a whole range of other emotions concerning recent events across our nation.

I am deeply disturbed by the racism, injustice and violence in a country where equality is promised and in a time when we should expect nothing less. I should not be scared for the safety and well-being of my family, my extended family at A.G. Rhodes, or myself because we are black.

The last couple of weeks have amplified the many complicated, systemic societal issues that must be unraveled and addressed before we can truly realize equality, and further racial divide will be detrimental to our progress. I urge us all to be more transparent and honest with ourselves and others. Have the difficult conversations and educate one another. Be kind and understanding. Listen and sympathize even if you don’t have shared experiences.

I’m proud to be black and to work among many black co-workers who have an even more important role now than ever before as we battle COVID-19. To my colleagues at A.G. Rhodes and to the millions of others who work in healthcare and numerous other industries that have been newly coined “essential” during this crisis: It doesn’t take a crisis for you to be essential. You—we—have always been essential.

June 4, 2020