Last week, Cognosante Founder and CEO, Michele Kang shared thoughtful words with the employee community about the “senseless deaths” that have sparked awareness and activism in our country and around the world. Read the full statement below.
As I watched the shocking videos of brutality and injustice in horror and anguish over the weekend, I knew that I wasn’t alone in thinking that I needed to share my outrage, grief, anger, and even fear with someone, everyone, especially my Cognosante family members. Our lives have already been turned upside down as the country was coping with an unprecedented global pandemic. And now this. How do we explain the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Steven Taylor, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery — the list goes on — not by terrorists, foreign invaders, or the mentally ill, but by fellow Americans?
This is the United States of America that is built on unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. It is the United States of America that the rest of the world looks up to as the land of the free and the land of opportunity for everyone. This is a nation that brings out the best in everyone. Like so many immigrants before me, I came to this country believing that there is no nation quite like America that provides equal justice and opportunity to everyone regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic status.
It is true that much progress has been made to expand the civil liberties of American citizens through law and policy over the past several decades. Unfortunately, the vision of the founding fathers and subsequent legal advances still fall short of the mark, sometimes far short. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Inequity and inequality affect all of us, not just minority or socially vulnerable segments of the population. The brutal and senseless death of George Floyd and all the subsequent events that led to even more tragedy remind us how much harder we as a country, as a community have to work to achieve “liberty and justice for all.”
“I know that I could not work in a place that did not share the values of diversity, inclusion, and the inherent worth of every person who walks in the door.” – Michele Kang
At Cognosante, our mission has always been to improve our nations’ healthcare system. We achieve this mission each day in support of our customers’ greatest challenges. Again, our greatest achievements are done as One Cognosante. I am proud of the culture we have created and how it symbolizes the true meaning of diversity. Our employees represent all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, academic, geographic, religious, and social backgrounds. Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated here. We are a company of diverse beliefs and life experiences. Our diversity is what makes us who we are. It makes us an important part of our community. I hope it adds to everyone’s sense of fulfillment about working here. I know that I could not work in a place that did not share the values of diversity, inclusion, and the inherent worth of every person who walks in the door. It is my goal that we continue to draw strength from our diverse backgrounds and continue to welcome others from all walks of life. In my opinion, our company is a positive reflection of what our country should be – a unified body supporting the same mission.
John F. Kennedy famously said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.” So, in this moment of injustice, chaos, and immense sadness, let’s stand up for each other, for our communities, and for our country. Let’s speak up against violence and discrimination of all kinds. Most importantly, let’s get involved in our communities in any way we can, no matter how small they are, to heal our wounds, address social injustice, and pursue dignity of purpose and happiness for all. True progress towards life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all can be made if and when all of us do our share. As Dr. King again reminded us, “the time is always ripe to do right.”
To that end, Cognosante is making donations to a number of groups — the National Museum of Civil Rights in Memphis, Tennessee that is dedicated to educate, support and bring awareness to civil rights and the Equal Justice Initiative based in Montgomery, Alabama, that aims to protect the basic legal rights of some of the most vulnerable people in American society.
In addition, to support the involvement of all Cognosante family members in our communities, the Company will donate $50,000 to local organizations that are dedicated to equality and justice for all. I want to invite all Cognosante employees to recommend organizations to receive our help and support. Your recommendation should include what they do, how their work contributes to address injustice and discrimination of all kinds, and why this is important to you. Once all recommendations are received, the Employee Engagement (EE) Committee will review and select at least 10 organizations to receive our donations. We will give priority to local, grassroots, educational organizations over national, political, religious initiatives. Our EE Committee will send out detailed instructions on how to submit your recommendations shortly.
It is okay to feel angry, despondent, or fearful. Let’s reach out and comfort each other. Let’s have thoughtful, productive, and peaceful conversations with one another to bring much needed awareness and solve misperceptions. Let’s not be afraid to listen. Let’s continue to support each other in the Cognosante family during this challenging time. Also know that the company makes 24/7 mental and emotional support available to talk through your concerns and share resources.
My faith in humanity and America is unwavering. We are powerful when we come together as one caring nation. Thank you for your resilience through adversity. Please continue to remain steadfast as we make our way during these uncertain times. Your commitment to our company and our customers is incomparable. You truly make this company a great place to work and it is a privilege for me to work alongside you. We will see this through – again – as One Cognosante.
Be well and safe. We are all here for each other.