President & CEO Jill Savitt Reflects on 2020
As we head into the home stretch of a year for the history books, we wanted to tell our community how The National Center for Civil and Human Rights has addressed the range of challenges 2020 brought.
We closed in March because of the pandemic – the same week I marked my first year as CEO of The Center. As the racial disparities of COVID’s devastation became apparent, we immediately shifted gears and created a Campaign for Equal Dignity – a series of online programs, conversations and action steps. Thanks to all of you who have engaged and participated.
After the murder of George Floyd and the full-throated movement for racial justice, we enhanced this programming with deep dives into issues related to police violence and racial justice, and highlighted the work of advocates leading the charge.
The focus on racial justice is our area of expertise. Over the summer we, and our partners at the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide, developed an online Law Enforcement Human Rights training and are now enrolling police officers and leaders in the course.
We also created conversations and experiences on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Workplace – and welcomed our first participants from companies, schools and nonprofits. Our website has more information if your company is interested.
Over Labor Day weekend, we re-opened The Center, and have been delighted to welcome visitors – with timed tickets, limited hours and strong health protocols. Porsche provided free admissions in October (thanks Porsche!), understanding that a great many people want to connect today’s events to history, while also offering the inspiration that change can and does happen.
As you can imagine, after being closed for six months, we lost a considerable amount of revenue from admissions. Our new training programs will not only help us fulfill our mission, but they are helping to make The Center more self-sufficient financially. This is critical since 2021 will be another year of uncertainty.
I am proud of The Center’s staff in navigating all of these challenges, while, like all of us, enduring the pandemic, and the range of emotions generated by the tragic and brutal violence against black men and women. Our team rallied to make sure we have been able carry out our work: convening dialogues, connecting history to the present, and helping people tap their own power to change the world.
We could not undertake any of this work without our community of supporters – all of you.
You have attended our virtual programs, offered encouragement, and provided financial resources.
We are grateful for this support, and it has sustained us – in all ways.
All of us at The Center wish you health and strength as 2020, at long last, comes to an end.