HoOHS’s Response to Racial Injustice – Black Lives Do Matter!
Our mission at HoOHS is “With support from our communities, we compassionately address the needs of homeless individuals and families by providing safe shelter, basic necessities, and a structured opportunity to regain sustainable self-sufficiency.”
We at the homeless shelter strive to fulfill our mission with the support of our communities, by addressing the needs of homeless individuals & families (black, brown, white… regardless of gender, age, economic class, sexual orientation or political affiliation) with compassion. In order for us as an agency to address the needs of ALL homeless individuals & families with compassion, with the full support of our whole communities, it is imperative for us to examine ourselves and our practices to identify any inconsistencies that will hinder us from accomplishing our mission of being a homeless shelter without bias, prejudice and racist beliefs or practices. Moving forward, HoOHS will be addressing the diversity of our Staff & Board and looking into consultation and the opinions of our brothers & sisters of color to help us toward fulfilling our mission and making sure we are an agency that provides equal access to all, without bias or prejudice.
I, as a white man, who currently serves in the position of Executive Director for the HoOHS recognize that a significant part of our nation is hurting, grieving and outraged by YET ANOTHER killing of an unarmed person of color by the very entity enlisted to render justice and maintain safety by enforcing the law. At the time of writing this, we have lost another fellow brother- Rayshard Brooks. Before Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd were murdered, there was Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. The list goes on and on…because this has been going on for a very long time!
Many in our nation just observed and celebrated Juneteenth, “on Juneteenth, we look back to 400 years of compromises with white supremacy in order to understand the pressing need for radical reconstruction of our nation” (Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chairs, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival). It is NOT ONLY our police departments that need to be addressed, systemic & structural racism infects each of us, our institutions and communities. Therefore, every person, institution and community needs to do some soul-searching and conduct a moral assessment on where we are in relation to racism & inequality.
The depth of change will take humility, listening to our brothers & sisters of color, patience, perseverance, compassion, as well as a willingness to learn from each other and pioneer a new path together!
I believe that we can do this together!
Until there is justice, there is no harmony* and we will stand in solidarity with like-minded people, partner agencies and our Black & Brown friends that make up our communities until we all can breathe!
Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter |
Marion Shelter Program, Inc.
*I’m Still Here, pg. 40, by Austin Channing Brown - ”…harmony–the absence of outright conflict–often leaves deeper complications untouched.”
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