John Bissell, Peter Taylor, and Gwendolyn VanSant } Berkshire Eagle
PITTSFIELD — As three leaders in Berkshire County, we recognize the unjust and uneven balance of power and privilege right here in our communities. Racial inequality has been built into our country's most influential and interconnected institutions—educational and economic, legal, philanthropic and, yes, cultural. We are writing to publicly commit to addressing systemic inequalities in our county head-on as we aim for equity of access and opportunity.
This is why Greylock and Berkshire Taconic helped sponsor, and BRIDGE helped curate, the recent Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference in the Berkshires at MCLA. It energized over 50 community members through a process that surfaced some of the most persistent systemic indicators and root causes of bias and discrimination. It's also why we are collectively inspired to stand with one of our partners, Jacob's Pillow. We strive to follow CEO Pamela Tatge's example of speaking out about racist and biased incidents when they occur, as she did in her July 10 op-ed for The Berkshire Eagle.
Tatge was well prepared to respond to racism when it occurred in the Jacob's Pillow community because her team had invested in a three-year partnership with BRIDGE to build awareness, responsiveness, and inclusivity into their organizational culture. What's more, Jacob's Pillow has also developed several authentic community collaborations like its dance program Pittsfield Moves.