In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the city issued its “Safer at Home” order, a couple of our employees called to ask for letters they could keep in their cars, something official to prove they had permission to be on the road, in case they were stopped by police.
The need for this kind of letter hadn’t occurred to me, and I was pretty sure it was unnecessary. Then I realized the common thread: All of the requests were from people of color.
They were asking for safety.
When I wrote to you two weeks ago, asking you to join us with open minds, honest words, and willing hearts, I asked in the spirit of peaceful homes for all families, because this is the core of our mission.
The days since I wrote that letter have been filled with hard and honest conversations. Our staff, board members, and financial supporters have broached the topics of race, diversity, and equity as never before. We’ve also talked about the temptation of safe, pretty words that can gloss over a grim reality. Even in the spirit of inclusion and unity, this is a mistake.
It’s important to me that we be clear:
As a counseling center, guided by universal principles of empathy, understanding, and growth, Kindred Place stands unequivocally with Black and Brown people against racial inequities and injustice. We stand with children whose schools have more armed officers than counselors. We stand with mothers and fathers who fear for their children’s safety and for their own, every single day.
A public statement, however, goes only so far. The real work lies in educating allies, empowering new voices, and listening. As the director of Kindred Place, I am accountable for working with our board, staff, and supporters to ensure our words are matched with action.
These difficult conversations will continue. I hope you will join us in this quest for justice and healing.