Bangor Savings Bank stands with our neighbors, businesses, and the communities across northern New England, the nation, and around the world in our resolve to end systemic racism. We are deeply saddened and outraged by the death of George Floyd, and for all people of color who have experienced violence and discrimination because of their race. Gripping our country for generations, racism has robbed us of unfathomable amounts of ingenuity, kindness, talent, love, and, tragically, lives. Enough is enough. Discrimination and racism – whether explicit, implicit, or systemic – deny human beings of dignity, fairness, and opportunity. Ending race-based inequity, prejudice, and violence is imperative.
Words can convey intent eloquently, yet it is the responsibility of each of us, individuals, communities, and institutions alike to take action, now. No one action will be adequate in itself and effecting true change will require ongoing, unwavering attention. To end systemic racism and inequity, we must embrace social changes that tear down the walls behind which injustice and selected privilege reside.
Bangor Savings Bank is committed to deepening our understanding of racial injustice, implicit bias, and systemic inequities. We’re committed to empowering our employees to gain awareness and take action in our service and work with our customers, communities, and each other. We will continue listening and learning and will be actively implementing changes to continue to take meaningful, affirmative steps forward to support our employees, customers, and communities on the path to racial equality. It is imperative that we engage in thoughtful collaboration and outreach to help inform the decisions and actions we take and changes we effect to ensure equity.
We started this work two years ago with the launch of our current strategic plan, in which one of our key initiatives reads: We will continue to embrace diversity—of thought, background, and experience—to build a rich and inclusive culture. We recognize we have a lot more to learn, and a lot more to do. We continue to work to enhance our hiring practices to attract, retain, and develop diverse talent. Additionally, all our employees participated in Green Dot last year, a training devoted to providing our employees with tools to halt power-based aggression and bullying behaviors. We are currently working with Green Dot to further build programming that includes dialogue and tools to help end race-based aggression and discrimination internally and in our communities.
Recognizing the need to engage our community, we have earmarked $200,000 to use over this next year in support of making long-term effective change. This year and for years to come we will be delivering more of our giving in support of achieving racial equity.
Change takes more than financial commitment—it is driven by people who care enough to give of themselves. Last year, we launched an internal volunteer service campaign in which our employees provided well over 10,000 hours of their time and talent for the benefit of our communities. This year and in the coming years we commit to raising awareness of volunteer opportunities and building even stronger relationships with organizations addressing race-based inequity.
As a community bank, our strength and heritage is intertwined with the health and well-being of the communities we serve. We recognize and embrace our unique and central role in providing access to financial products and services that help create economic empowerment and mobility. We believe that this same heritage and community commitment will help position us to prevail in our ongoing effort to eliminate racial inequities and all discrimination.
We commit to actively engaging with our communities of color – not just to provide a seat at the table but to assure that all are part of our chorus of voices – that their community is our community and that together we are one community. We know we have an opportunity and responsibility to grow and work toward the elimination of discrimination and inequity for all. We will not turn back, we will not accept the status quo, and we ask that you join us in moving forward.
We stand united for racial equity. We will remain united for racial equity. We are stronger together.
With full commitment,
Bob Montgomery-Rice, and all of us at Bangor Savings Bank