Like so many organizations across the country, Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc. stands firm in our beliefs that all people desire and should be given opportunities to succeed in life. We believe that all people deserve the same dignity, the same respect, and the same opportunities regardless of the color of their skin. Yet there are many across the country who are still oppressed because of their color and/or their social or economic status in the community. It is only after multiple recent videos exposing the extreme police brutality, and in more than one case murder, have been played domestically and around the world that we are face to face with the undeniable fact of how pervasive this racial oppression is in our country.
At COI, we do not support racism of any kind, and work diligently to respect one another’s culture, both within the agency and in our community. COI stands firm in its determination to help heal the wounds of racial disparity and bring awareness to the divisiveness it causes. We encourage people to stand up against all forms racism, and to educate themselves on the causes of racism and biased attitudes. Working together, we can bring a change that is needed both at home and in the country. Violence will not solve this problem, and we will not support any violent movement that disrupts, degrades, or in any other way dehumanizes an individual or group of individuals. We believe that all lives matter.
“We support peaceful protesting”, states Diane Hewitt-Johnson, CEO of Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc., “we cannot tolerate racial disparity as a country anymore. Much of this disparity is rooted in the economic and social divide that exists in our society and as a Community Action Agency it is our goal and mission to address these issues where we see them, and bring about the change that is needed to help unify our country.”
As a Community Action Agency, COI is always working for the betterment of individuals in Chautauqua County that have been affected by poverty. Our community is made up of people from a wide variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds and our mission is to provide those in need with the opportunities and the tools to build their lives up and to become successful members of our community. We are just one voice among millions, but together we can help bring an end to racism so that people from all races have the same opportunities to grow and succeed.