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RI SHRM stands with Black Lives 

To our Colleagues and Friends in the Human Resources Community:

Over the past several weeks, we have watched violence, acts of injustice, and rallies spread across our country, as we still struggle to respond to a global pandemic. It is a frightening and challenging time for our HR colleagues and their employees as we all try to find our way through this uncertain time in our country, our local communities, and our workplaces.

We recognize that many of our colleagues and members of our workforce are hurting and angry--struggling to find answers to the recent national incidents and the long history of systemic racism and injustice towards Black people and other minorities in our community. We also recognize that many employees are highly vulnerable now.  As Human Resources professionals, we are in a unique position to make change happen in our organizations and we have a responsibility to do the right thing.

Rhode Island SHRM has focused on driving diversity initiatives in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is one of the most diverse states in our nation and we are proud to have a rich multicultural heritage. We have long celebrated the fact that this has contributed to the strength and resiliency of our workplaces, particularly during these difficult times.

Rhode Island SHRM proudly stands for social justice and racial equality. We strive to build communities and workplaces that promote diversity and inclusion, encourage understanding, and take action to create a positive workplace culture.

What we stand for:

  • A strong belief that all people should be treated with dignity and respect
  • Social and economic justice for all
  • A safe workplace where diverse viewpoints are welcomed
  • Healthy employees—physically, socially, financially, and emotionally
  • Equity for all in regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, gender identity and expression, disability, and veteran's status

What we oppose:

  • Racism
  • Bigotry
  • Hate
  • Violence
  • Inequity
  • Injustice

Acting as a collective voice, the Rhode Island SHRM Board encourages our colleagues to:

  • Recognize that there is division and racism in our country towards Black people and other marginalized minority populations and a real need for social equity in our workplaces and our communities;
  • Recognize people who may be hurting, reach out to them, and find safe spaces that promote healing and provide support to ensure the social and emotional health and wellbeing of all employees;  
  • Bring voices together to have thoughtful conversations and discuss how employees are feeling, allow them to express themselves, and ensure you have the internal capability to facilitate difficult conversations;
  • Listen with empathy, seek to understand other view points;
  • Have an open mind, open heart and self-reflect, challenge your own biases, even when uncomfortable and commit to self-growth and learning; practice self-care;
  • Take action---Influence the leaders in your organization, to take action, challenge practices and underlying norms that allow-even passively, inequities and commit to make real changes to eliminate racism and create racial equity in our workplaces; and
  • Take action-influence legislators to do the right thing.

As Human Resources professionals, we need to be part of the solution to affect change. As a professional Human Resources organization, we stand ready to support you. We don’t have all the answers—we are all learning together. However, we are here to listen, connect you with others and support you. Our Diversity Committee will take the lead to provide you information and resources. Feel free to reach out to any of us and particularly our Diversity Director, Kevin Matta

SHRM also has valuable resources to support you: 

Employer’s Guide to Demonstrating Equity and Inclusion: Six Ways to Put Words into Action

Tips for Discussing Racial Injustice in the Workplace

We are passionate about affecting change—and we stand with you and all of those oppressed.

It’s time to do the right thing.

-The Board of Rhode Island SHRM

Cynthia J. Butler, SPHR, SHRM- SCP, State Chapter Director

Lynn Corwin, SHRM-CP PHR, State Operations Director

Patricia Lyons, JD, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Treasurer and State Chapter Director-Elect

Pam DeMelim, Secretary

Gary Convertino, Ed.D, PHR, SHRM-CP, CPC, Workforce Development Director

Christine Cunneen, Director Sponsorships/Non-dues Revenue

Ray Dutelle, SHRM-SCP, Director at-large

Amy GrengaPHR, SHRM-CP, Communications Director

Tina Handren, SHRM-SCP, Certification Director

Ken LeGendre, Membership Director

Kevin Matta, Diversity Director

Linda Olbrys, Student/College Relations and Emerging Leaders

Roxane Rusnak, SHRM-CP, Foundation Director

Scott Seaback, Programs/Professional Development Director

Gregory Tumolo, Esq., Legislative Affairs Director


RI Society of Human Resource Management, 2019

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