By Vice Adm. Luke McCollum, Chief of Navy Reserve
The last week and half has been very difficult for our nation and our Navy. The tragic killing of Mr. George Floyd sparked very raw and real emotions across the country and our Force. I know I have been deeply troubled by what we have witnessed and can only imagine the pain many of you are feeling.
This horrific incident reminds us that there is more work to do to ensure all Americans feel safe in our country, communities, and in our Navy Reserve.
Adm. Gilday said in his video on June 3, 2020: “I can’t be under any illusions that we don’t have [racism] in our Navy.” I echo that. We cannot be under any delusion that racism does not occur whether intentional or not.
This past week I took the time to have multiple conversations with people with diverse perspectives regarding how they feel. This was hard. One common theme that came out of these conversations was that we must become comfortable with being uncomfortable. How do we do that? I don’t have the full answer, but here are a few thoughts. We can start by openly acknowledging that racial biases exist. Period. And then have frank conversations about it that include people with different perspectives. We can listen, learn, and together move forward.
Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment can be our guide now more than ever. Are we being honorable in what we say and do? Are we courageous enough to stand up when we hear inappropriate conversations? Are we committed to listening to one another and educating ourselves on how to be better than we are today? Reflecting on these questions and many more will make us stronger together.
I am so proud of the many things you have accomplished and am confident you will take this challenge head on like so many others. Please look after your family, friends, and shipmates. Send that email or make that call to someone you feel may be hurting and keep the lines of communication open. And, please do not forget to take care of yourself. Now let’s get on with it.