Recent events in the U.S. and around the world have caused us at TCI Magazine and TCIA to reassess whether our thoughts, our words and our actions have been strong enough and timely enough. This introspection has already led to some profound changes and will undoubtedly lead to more change as opportunities present themselves.
Taking these events in the order they occurred, first TCIA had to respond appropriately to COVID-19 and the immediate circumstances it created for us. Keep in mind, we are situated close to one of the original outbreak areas in a densely settled part of the country. The first order of business was to keep our staff and their loved ones safe. By the time you read this, we will have been working from home for something like 15 to 16 weeks.
Literally as we were setting up computers and establishing communications from our home offices, our thoughts and actions turned to the industry we serve. We advocated for tree care to be considered an “essential business,” so that those not affected by the virus could stay productive. At the very same time, we counseled arborists who were impacted on how to best protect their lives and livelihoods.
Then George Floyd died at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and a number of other atrocities against persons of color were brought to light in the media. Again, we had to question whether we were doing the right things or doing enough. Dealing with COVID-19 was easy compared to confronting racial, social and gender inequity. What we can say right now is that we are committed to some candid conversations and ultimately to bringing about change in the parts of society we touch.
Spoiler alert: TCI Magazine will soon have a new website where all the written information we post will be available in a number of languages, including Spanish. We’re working on a number of initiatives to create greater equity for all our readers, including new ones we hope to attract.
Back to COVID-19. On June 17, with the direction and support of our board of directors, TCIA made the difficult decision to cancel TCI EXPO 2020. EXPO has been the world’s largest tree care show and conference for the past 30 years. As the producer of this great show, TCIA takes its responsibility very seriously to be the leader in safety and to do what is right for our attendees, and the industry at large.
But we are not just folding our tent and going home. Stay tuned in the coming months as we unveil a new plan to help bring this industry together.