Working together toward a more just society

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services Executive Director Paul Hollings

En Español

As we enter our 13th week under COVID-19 restrictions, we are all dealing with overwhelming emotions related to the events of recent months.

The senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others before them, are deeply troubling, causing sadness, anger, frustration, despair. The insidious impact of systemic racism is felt in many ways in our society.  We see it in these senseless killings, and we note it in the disproportionate impact the Coronavirus has had on black communities. It is easy to be discouraged when witnessing and experiencing such events.

While it is hard not to focus on the negative, I do think it important to recognize the good around us.  I cannot remember a time of such a sustained and organized outpouring of support for any cause. We have seen this in Cambridge and Somerville, and across the country, as hundreds of thousands of people of all races have taken to the streets to advocate for a more just society.

The racism that contributed to the recent killings does not exist in a vacuum. It feeds upon other social illnesses, including sexism, classism, materialism, ignorance, and lack of curiosity.  The best way to move forward is with a focus on values; a commitment to justice, truth, fairness, respect, and kindness.  And listening! Many of our colleagues and fellow citizens are subjected to differential treatment based on their race. Many of us have been privileged not to live with those challenges, and will benefit from listening.  And, as we have seen by recent reactions against protesters, we still have a ways to go.

At Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services, we are committed to fairness and inclusion, both in our workplace and our community. Our mission statement speaks to our values foundation – working for the dignity and self-determination of all elders in our community. SCES celebrates the diversity of our cities and strives to create an organizational culture that is welcoming and inclusive. We are encouraging our team members to share resources and to support their colleagues. We are also forming a standing group to facilitate discussions and look at how we can be an agency that is more educated and inclusive.

Our thanks to everyone who is working toward a more just society, marked by kindness and consideration and respect.


Paul Hollings
Executive Director
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services