During this heartbreaking time, we find ourselves amidst two pandemics: one is COVID-19 and the other is racism and oppression. COVID-19, is a physical disease, which has brought about a time of physical isolation, digital interactions, and the resulting stress that is inherent in trying to mitigate the sense of disconnection. It has also highlighted inequities in resource availability and distribution, which are directly related to the rampant racism and oppression in our country. Racism is an insidious disease that has plagued our nation since before its formation, resulting in continued physical, social, economic, and psychic violence on members of our community.

We are responsible for understanding that the current systems, methods, and social contracts we live within are not equitable or ethical. Systemic and institutionalized racism require examining, unlearning, and re-conditioning in order to create equality. Our agencies stand against all types of racism, oppression, violence, and discrimination, both covert and overt.

In this moment, we mourn the loss of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others who have been the victims of violence against Black people. Black lives matter! Unfortunately, our society often does not act in ways that are consistent with this truth. Continued acts of racism and violence are stark reminders that we all must do better. As an organization founded on the premise of serving marginalized individuals, this moment in time is a call to action. Sadly, it is not the first call to action, yet it is absolutely a necessary and pressing call to action.

In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we will be working with individuals from various backgrounds and schools of thought to better understand how we as an agency can be of better support to our staff, to people in our care, and to the community at large. We do so in a continued effort to support the rights of all people to live passionate, meaningful lives with equality regardless of race, ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, or religion.

These are emotional times. We are reaching out to see how best to provide support; please let us know what you need. We also invite your thoughts and ideas about how to increase equality for all within our agencies, for our clients, within our communities, and for a healthier world. Our team must and will do our part!

It will not be an easy task.

You are not alone in this.

We are in this together

In Solidarity,

Chuck Chojnacki, Haley French, J. Steven Porter, Kier Flicker, Maria Baron, and Rochelle Henderson