Protests, Pandemics & Pride

Jeannette Ruffins, Executive Director/CEOOur board and staff stand in solidarity against structural and institutionalized racism. We must hold ourselves accountable to be actively antiracist and work towards dismantling systemic racism. There can be a more just and equitable future—if we all put in the consistent hard work to make it a reality.

During this June of protests, pandemics and pride, I’m reminded of the words of Audre Lorde:

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives.

We primarily serve communities of color. They are also homeless persons, young adults, LGBTQ folks, seniors and mothers. These identities intersect. People are not just one identity.

Protests have erupted worldwide over the senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of the police. His death is part of another pandemic in America—systemic racism. More specifically Mr. Floyd’s death highlights the overuse of deadly force against people of color, often without provocation or cause, followed by a general lack of accountability. The problem is not new. It will not go away overnight. Neither will the anger or our passion for justice.

Change has always been a fight. This Pride Month, let us remember that Stonewall was a riot, also.

Having been a child in the 60s, I’m discouraged we’re still fighting many of the same fights as my parents’ generation. But I’m heartened by this movement today—it’s energized by the voices and actions of young people; it’s multigenerational and multicultural; it’s more progressive; and it views social justice and economic equity differently.

Today’s movement reimagines policing and has a broader view of what an equitable and just society could be.

As a social worker committed to social justice, I am mindful of the ways our communities are often over-policed and underresourced for other critical social services (specifically those related to poverty, homelessness, health, substance use, mental health, education and employment).

We are an agency both staffed by and serving predominantly persons of color. Our staff have adapted to new ways of providing service during the pandemic. I am honored to work with a staff of such dedicated and committed individuals.

Traumatic circumstances push people into homelessness and then homelessness becomes the next trauma. I’d like to take a moment to thank you for supporting us as we help our residents process past and current trauma with individualized care and an understanding of our intersecting identities.

Be well. Stay safe.

Sincerely,
Jeannette K. Ruffins
Chief Executive Officer

6/11/20