A Message to Our Members

By Adam Natali posted 06-01-2020 12:08


Dear Association Forum Members,

Let's remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

This weekend, we were shaken by the destruction our beautiful City of Chicago experienced. We strongly support freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. We advocate for human rights and equal opportunities for all. We know that positive and collective voices impact change.

We ask for hearing, healing and strength to unite our Chicagoland community and other cities across the nation to emerge above this moment in our history. We know that hearing requires hard work. We know that when the intensity subsides and we labor towards a return, there is more work ahead. We need to understand the root of the pain and work towards a cure. This is a difficult time. We will come out on the other side better.

It is during moments like this that we remember our core value of Welcoming Environment®:

Welcoming Environment®WElogo.jpg
When an association values differences and creates a welcoming environment – one that is comfortable, inclusive, and empowering – it opens the door for innovation, increased participation and an elevated sense of community and belonging for all.

Welcoming Environment® is the creation of a sense of belonging and connectedness that engages individuals in an authentic manner in which uniqueness is valued, respected and supported through opportunities and interaction.

In the coming weeks, Association Forum will provide opportunities for members to stand in solidary with our city on recovery and be part of the plan for reconciliation. Thank you to the peaceful protesters for exercising their freedom of speech. Thank you to the police, fire and emergency responders who continue to protect our lives every day.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


geoff-brown-sig.jpgGeoffrey Brown, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
Association Forum Board Chair

michelle-signature.pngMichelle Mason, FASAE, CAE
President and CEO
Association Forum




06-03-2020 13:37

We appreciate the openness and honesty of your responses as a member regarding Association Forum’s Letter to Members on Monday. You are absolutely right. This was written as the protests and riots were happening, and in trying to find a peaceful way to address what was going on, we intentionally focused on the importance of uniting and calming the community. But this letter to members was not intended to be a statement.  It is the first of many steps to acknowledging we have a real issue of racism and discrimination in America.  Association Forum is confronting the issue of inequality and injustice. We have zero tolerance for bigotry in any form, and our programming and communications will not shy away from this fact. Now more than ever, the Welcoming Environment work is critical to advance the conversation to action.  George Floyd is the catalyst for change.  This is a deeper issue that needs systematic reform.

This is a process that includes multiple steps.  There will be another message sent today, and we are giving all of our members the opportunity to speak with Chicago Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer this Thursday about systematic racism at a Conversation Circle on Thursday, June 4, 2020, titled, Racial Inequality. We are committed to action and look forward to your support on this journey.

06-02-2020 15:26

This statement does not seem sincere and does not acknowledge the root of what is going on at the moment. We are in the midst of a revolution, yet tone deaf statements like this do not address the brutality and suffering that black and brown people have endured for centuries. Nor does it mention the murder of George Floyd, instead it focuses on the destruction of businesses and material things. A life was snuffed out by the very people meant to protect it--let's discuss that. You need to do better or risk losing members like myself.