In this time of national stress, the global coronavirus pandemic and the economy have taken a back seat to the centuries-old and often ignored and re-opened wounds of the Black community. Individuals, companies and other institutions have a new opportunity to listen and create a better path.

We stand in support of equality and dignity

The Advisory Group condemns racism and discrimination and stands in support of equality and dignity for all people. We can be one true larger community comprised of sub-communities. These are ideals that should resonate with those from all walks of life, regardless of race, gender, religion, background, orientation, or socio-economic status. This is not a political matter, it is a human matter.

Our country has many achievements to be proud of, but also falls painfully short regarding our national ideals of equal treatment and opportunity. To be greater we must do greater. That includes those with privilege using it to effect lasting systemic change, going beyond oneself more than before.

We must do more for financial literacy

With these goals in mind, The Advisory Group will strive to make a difference, consistent with our company’s purpose of improving lives through financial advice. While not universal, the economic inequality of many within historically disadvantaged communities1 is a major cumulative barrier to overall equality and a significant current contributor to national economic instability.

We donate time and money to a number of causes, including financial literacy; but, we must do more. The Advisory Group will conduct financial literacy webinars and provide advice tools to all that might benefit. We hope to help by sharing, and to continue to learn from others, across communities.

Follow the golden rule

We all have so much in common. And many of our differences are worthy of celebration, making the U.S. the unique and (in many ways) wonderful melting-pot culture that it is. This country would be only a mere shadow of its current self, in terms of creativity, generosity, courage, ingenuity, job creation, culture, food, art and more; without the contributions of its people of many races.

However, differences that systematically and unfairly advantage or disadvantage certain people vs. others have the reverse impact. Such behaviors and institutions damage our national cultural and economic potential and need to be fixed. Even in a meritocracy, one can’t reasonably argue that someone starting a mile behind the starting line (or pinned to the ground) of a marathon is getting the same chance. Let’s all strive for our dreams, while following the golden rule. These are not mutually exclusive propositions.

Let’s set the example and be the change

The past can’t be undone, but it can be repaired with proper attention and action. As a country, let’s not let what might seem like an insurmountable problem prevent us from trying. Our country’s specialty is achieving the impossible.

Responding is different than reacting. If we each find our own way to apply a meaningful combination of our time, talents and treasure, in big or small ways, we will make an enormous difference. Collectively, we can turn this painful time into one of the most positive and healing inflection points in our nation’s history, and create a new sense of community.

We celebrate those that are courageous defenders of the rights and dignity of all people. Let’s all be upstanders, not bystanders. Let’s choose generosity of heart and constructive discomfort over silence. Let’s actively do the next right thing. Let’s set the example and be the change. When we do, everyone wins, together.

~ Gregory H. Patterson, CEO, and The Advisory Group team

1.What is Behind the Persistence of the Racial Wealth Gap, Federal Reserve, February, 2019.