While I have been listening for the past two weeks, I want to assure you that Children’s Bureau shares the deep sadness, the disappointment, and the frustration that has encompassed our communities, the country, and the world. When an African American friend of mine states, “my spirit cannot take going back to normal,“ the words of hope and promise have been hard to find. Reflection, nevertheless, provides an opportunity for consideration, thoughtfulness and, ultimately, enduring commitment.
For 116 years, Children’s Bureau has sought to help vulnerable children. Our Mission has never before been more needed, and we remain dedicated to providing all vulnerable children the care, support and nurturing they need. However, in this moment we recognize that the convergence of economic, health, political, and social crises have finally lifted the veil of inherent bias and centuries old injustice that black men, women, and children, communities of color, and immigrants have faced every day. These are our loved ones, our family, our friends and, importantly, our community.
As another preventable and senseless murder of an African American at the hands of a flawed and misguided system has occurred, we continue to be profoundly saddened that society has progressed so incredibly slowly on an issue that is clearly right vs. wrong. Therefore, we resoundingly echoing the sentiments that black lives matter! Our community is in pain, and we are in pain. It is also not lost on us that children continue to be further traumatized by this system and by these events as they continue to tragically unfold.
Children’s Bureau can do more, and we will do more. This moment calls us to both reflect and to act – to listen closely, and to seek pathways forward. As such, we will:
- Increase our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Board, staff, and service levels.
- Engage in honest conversations about racism, about privilege, and systemic inequity.
- Systematically review our internal and external policies, practices, and behaviors to consistently provide for equity, inclusion, and transparency.
- Ensure that our collective awareness is directly aligned with our Mission and our diversity is celebrated meaningfully and through a healing centered lens.
- Commit to improve, support, and sustain the well-being of the communities where we work and live.
- And, perhaps most importantly, we will not forget this moment and this pledge.
Little six-year-old Gianna Floyd, daughter of George Floyd summed it up best. Gianna said, “I played with my daddy all day. My Dad Changed the world; I miss him”. Gianna matters – her dad mattered – and we will always seek ways to be the reason for change and to be good stewards of the message that black lives matter. To that end, we will leverage our greatest asset – our service to and for community – in support of transformational systemic change and reforms so that all children, families, and communities can realize their full potential. We have been delivering hope to vulnerable children for 116 years, we’re certainly not going to stop now.