A Statement from Erikson President & CEO Geoffrey A. Nagle

June 1, 2020

All of our hearts are heavy this week as the news continues to be filled with the impact of 400 years of racial injustice and systemic anti-Black racism in the United States of America. Most recently, we have been outraged by the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and now, George Floyd. These examples have been made public, but there are many more that permeate the lived experience of many African Americans daily. In Chicago, we need to look no further for inequality than our own hometown over the past 90 days and how the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated African American, Latino, and Native American communities at disproportionate rates.

The events that unfolded over the last few days in Chicago and across the nation are tremendously unsettling on so many levels. I’m sorry to report that Erikson’s physical location was vandalized on the evening of May 30, with several glass windows shattered, packages and technology stolen in the lobby, and graffiti on the building. While we are still in the process of cleaning up and assessing the damage, it appears that only the first floor lobby and outside areas were impacted. Regardless, none of this compares to the Black lives lost to racial injustice.

I join all of you in grieving for our city, our nation, and most especially, with those who identify as belonging to communities of color. These ongoing tragic circumstances require a radical restructuring of inequitable systems, institutions, and resource distribution to yield dramatically different outcomes that lead to racial equity. In her press conference on May 31, Mayor Lightfoot expressed it so perfectly when she reminded everyone that “our children are watching.” She is correct, and “our children” are going to need Erikson’s voice and expertise to be stronger than ever as we try to navigate through these incredibly difficult times.

The health and safety of you and your families is most important. Property can be repaired, but lives cannot be replaced. As you may have heard, Mayor Lightfoot announced that there will be restricted transportation to the downtown area, including Erikson’s location, and there will be an ongoing curfew in place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. With that, Erikson’s building will officially be closed until further notice, and we hope that everyone stays safe.

We are in this together, and I stand with all of you as we need you to continue to make our community stronger and equitable for all children and families.

Geoff Nagle
President and CEO, Erikson Institute