Dear HEFWA Community,
The last several days and months have been increasingly tense and upsetting for so many of us. And it is often in times like this – times of unrest, particularly among our communities of color, and when negative discourse nationwide attempts to thwart those seeking to heal the nation – when we recognize the need for unity and strength.
We are a community – one that strives to work together to achieve a common goal to improve the lives of those whom we serve on a daily basis. As the leaders of the community, we feel it’s important to let you know that we are devastated that our core beliefs – equality, equity, and respect – are being violated for those we consider our friends and family. And in the days since, in conversations with our children, our families, our friends, and our colleagues, we have only rediscovered what we already knew: there is no justifiable answer as to why our society has been, and continues, to be this way. Simply put, Black Lives Matter.
In our community, we know that there are systemic issues in finances creating a huge disparity in education attainment between minority students and non-minority students. We know that minority students face significantly more financial, systemic, and institutional barriers as they work to finish their degrees and move toward the goal of economic prosperity. We also know that minority communities have less access to the beneficial financial products and information that could help propel them forward. As a community, we must work together to advocate for ways to solve these issues.
As we continue to move forward, HEFWA is committed to doing all we can to create programming and conversations that will address these issues. As an organization that believes wholeheartedly in education being an important tool for progress, we expect to bring uncomfortable conversation to the table in an effort to help us all learn. We hope you all will feel comfortable in sharing your thoughts and are open to being wrong (i.e. human) about parts of your worldview.
As these events have shown us, we can no longer just be people who are accepting of others. We must be committed to help lead the way and do all we can to bring change to achieve equality, equity, and respect for all. We can be better. We must be better.
We appreciate every one of you and your commitment to what you do. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and do good for your community.
The Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance Directorate