Letter From the WRPA President: Responding to the Current Social Injustices

All Black Lives Matter

A Message from Paul Simmons, WRPA President

Dear WRPA Members and Supporters, 

Not acknowledging white privilege, is a demonstration of white privilege in and of itself.

I do not know what it is like to live life in our society as a black person, as hard as I try to be empathetic and understand, I will never fully understand the struggles of some of my closest friends, family members, and loved ones that I have in my life.

I ask questions, I try to understand, I try to assume optimism will lead to a better future. I have tried all of my life to treat people equally and “do the right thing”. I think my struggle today, at this moment in time, is that being a good person and doing “the right thing” is, quite frankly, not enough. Optimism and good will is not enough. I have watched black and brown people struggle with police brutality and systemic racism my entire adult life, and I have failed to speak up about it as I should have. I am ashamed that it has taken me this long to speak up and use my voice, my power, and my privilege.

All Black Lives Matter. We need to change, we can change, and we must be the change. This pain I feel in my stomach as I type this is hardly a fraction of the challenges and fear our black and brown communities live with day in and out.

In the near future, our newly revitalized Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee will launch a series WRPA hosted caucuses to unpack recent events and discuss new ways of moving forward both within our association and out in our communities as Parks and Recreation professionals.  

But for now, as President of the Washington Recreation and Parks Association, let me end this message with this: I understand that I will never fully understand. As a result, I commit to listening and learning from others and to lead in a new way that acknowledges and removes historical and societal barriers that exist today.


Paul Simmons
WRPA President
Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Director

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Comments on "Letter From the WRPA President: Responding to the Current Social Injustices"

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Quinn Proffitt - Friday, June 05, 2020

I've been struggling to find the words the past few weeks. Thank you for your message Paul. 100\% agree, it's time we actively help move forward eradicating racism and injustice for our fellow humans. Be kind, love each other, we're standing with you all.

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