“The time is always right to do what is right.”
– Martin Luther King Junior
In recent days, we have watched the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. These tragedies are only the most recent in a series of heartbreaking and unjust attacks on black men and women. Words do not begin to carry the emotions, grief and lament we feel. We mourn alongside the Black community as this tragedy underscores and strengthens memories of other traumas and the larger history of systemic oppression they have experienced and that continues to plague our country.
This loss of life and the resulting outcry of pain and outrage we are experiencing across the country and around the world remind us that systemic injustice is faced by individuals and families and weighs disproportionately on communities of color. The work of addressing these injustices is urgent and is ongoing.
Over these last few days, we have weighed heavily what, if anything, we could say that would productively contribute to the public dialogue. Through our 45 year history, it has been our belief that those who are closest to the issues facing a community should be the ones to lead the conversation and we have sought to be good listeners and to serve as partners and allies in our work. We have intentionally chosen to listen rather than to speak, wanting to make space for those voices most familiar with the issue to lead the discussion, guide our thinking and help us come together in ways that lead to fruitful change and new depth of understanding and relationship.
However, we have heard clearly from the communities we serve that while this remains a time to listen and partner, it is not a time for silence. We continue to stand with those who decry racism and injustice and we are with those calling for change.
“We must not give up hope, for hope has two daughters: Anger and Courage. Anger with the way things are; Courage to work to change things.”
– St. Augustine
Our hearts break for the pain endured by the Black community and communities of color who have faced systemic injustice and the damage that this reality has done to our communities.
Yet in this moment, we are also mindful and grateful for the countless individuals and organizations across our region and country who have worked tirelessly to try to right these wrongs, to those who continue to fight for equality, for justice and work for human flourishing. We will continue to support them in every way we can.
The heart of our mission is for individuals, families and communities to flourish. We understand there is a lot of work to be done. Furthermore, we understand the challenges in some communities are far greater for a wide variety of reasons. But we also recognize the amazing, yes heroic, work already underway by those working with hope in communities around our region and across the country and the change that is taking place because of groups like these …
- Organizations and individuals that seek to educate, inspire and mentor youth.
- Organizations and individuals that seek to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty, addiction and injustice.
- Organizations that lift diverse voices and cultures through artistic performance and educational demonstrations.
- Organizations that research and make discoveries that serve our health and lives.
- Organizations that seek to collaborate and create real, lasting change.
“Let those who must, despair; let those who will, begin again.”
– Vaclev Havel
To all who desire an equitable, just world that allows every individual, family and community the freedom to flourish and thrive: We see you. We hear you. We continue to stand with you.