In Jon Robin Baitz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Fair Country, the Burgesses are a family of Americans residing in 1977 South Africa. Despite their idealism and nationality, they gradually and subtly acclimate to and accept apartheid. It is a brilliant depiction of how culture shapes behavior, and the only character who is not corrupted is the one who is actively fighting that country’s formal system of oppression. The lesson is clear - passivity equals complicity.
Recent violent events, including the tragic deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, and George Floyd, among countless others, have stirred an awakening about our own complicity on perpetuating inequity. All lives do not matter until Black Lives Matter, and we have much work to do to battle systemic racism. I personally have been passive, and I now fully understand the consequences of my actions and, perhaps more importantly, my inactions.
In addition, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism are also systemic, and I am committed to working to eliminating these injustices and prejudices as well. I believe that we should be mindful of all of these societal ills, as they reinforce dangerous and oppressive power structures.
Odyssey is a young practice – nearly a year old at the time of this writing. In thinking about this company’s impact, I believe that it must contribute to tikkun olam, or the repair of the world. The Jewish faith teaches that we are all responsible for this work, and Odyssey needs to be an active and positive force in this regard.
Effective immediately, I make the following public commitments for Odyssey:
These steps are meant to be a start of a long journey. As Odyssey’s policies and practices change, I will update them here.
Many thanks to diversity and inclusion consultant Judge Angela Robinson (Ret.) for her support on developing this statement. For more information about Angela and her work, check out her website here.
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?"
Rabbi Hillel (Pirke Avot 1:14)