The explosive events of the past months and weeks have challenged our notion of social justice and reopened deep-seated wounds. Profound pain has brought us to a pivotal moment of reflection. The pandemic compelled us to pause for purpose. The death of George Floyd called us to stand up for justice. Staunch social justice advocates from all walks of life remind us that in a world divided by so much, we are united by a hope for humanity. Realizing that hope means taking responsibility for what brought us here and understanding that the era of passive observation has passed. It is time to redesign our world with accountability and action.

Tragedy creates an opportunity to work toward greater humanity. In 2014, I co-produced the evocative documentary, “Hate Crimes in the Heartland,” which examines U.S. race relations through the 1921 race riots and the 2012 "Good Friday Murders” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I joined that project largely to dismantle a society that dishonors the lives and dignity of the black community. Our collective goal was to end the crime and pain we cause by hate.  The “Heartland” project was a storytelling tool designed to enhance the dialogue of racial violence and injustice. It provided an opportunity for engagement, education and activation, and it engendered partnerships to broaden and deepen the national dialogue on race.  The approach to that seminal work of leveraging art as a tool for social change remains integral to the principles and practices that represent the core of P.S. 314’s methodology.

P.S. 314 was built on the tenets of the “Heartland” concept. There is no vantage point from which one can sit in silence and observe while our communities erupt in pain, and walk in purpose toward justice, equity and healing. Honoring our humanity equals understanding that everyone has a role to play to create a better, more equitable world. At P.S. 314, we operate with humanity at our core. We recognize and honor the personal contributions and sacrifices many make – often with limited resources – in an effort to achieve an equitable society. We come to this work consciously and with intention to live and work in our values for change. 

We believe in equality in service to humanity. We envision a society that values every person equally and provides full access to opportunities, prosperity and well-being, regardless of race, gender, orientation, age, nationality or ability. Our P.S. 314 collective, as the most diverse ecosystem of consultants joining forces for the greater good, reflects that belief; our diversity embodies the equity for which our client partners strive as they build a better world. We cannot move forward in progress without a measure of pain and anguish seared into our collective consciousness. Members of the collective, whose life work is steeped in social justice, navigate the complexity of this moment in unique ways. As we work to disrupt racism, we remain mindful that many of our collective members carry a heavier emotional load as they grapple with the duality of embodying and executing our critical mission.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the many social justice leaders and the torch they carry for our collective humanity, as they stand on the front lines on our behalf. These frontline leaders work to reconstruct institutions in service to all of us. They are change agents who pick up and carry the trauma often at their feet. These frontline agents were here yesterday, in preparation for today, and they will remain here tomorrow, crafting a vision for our future. They deserve much more than applause and gratitude; they deserve acknowledgement, partnership, resources and compensation.

P.S. 314 has risen to meet the moment, because equity and social justice have been at the heart of our efforts since our inception. We continue to respond to our critical calling with compassion and empathy. In that deeper reflection, we take a closer look at the large ecosystem of work that must be done to rebuild the institutions, cultures, behaviors and practices that do not serve us or allow us to thrive in communities grounded in equity. Today’s world calls for a strong chorus of voices, erupting with raw passion and purpose. Justice is only the beginning. This is not new. The problem is not different, yet, united in our hope for humanity, our response can be. 

Throughout the challenging times ahead, P.S. 314 will continue its vital work, while joining hands with institutions and change agents of color on the front lines. 

  • We will partner with more funders to drive change that reaches far beyond this pivotal moment and creates profound, lasting impact. As more funds are allocated to racial justice and equity, we will partner with both funders and organizations to define alignment for impact. 

  • We are especially committed to assisting in the resource development strategies and long-term sustainability efforts that support grassroots organizations in their work of dismantling systemic racism within institutions and in community culture throughout the country. 

  • We will launch a series of fireside chats this summer in an effort to broaden our world view and enhance our perspective on the unique life experiences of others. These virtual events provide an opportunity to engage across generations, race, identity, gender, and class. Our goal is to use conversation to create opportunities for connection and understanding. 

Join our ecosystem of leaders boldly working in service to the greater good. Make your protest your lifestyle and deepen your commitment to the social justice landscape. There is a reason that we are here, now, together, bearing witness to a vision for a brighter tomorrow. The crises of humanity will not get better without everyone’s voice and contribution. We all have a part to play to ensure that we leave the darkness of denial behind and move closer to reclaiming our collective humanity. Step into the light with us.