We are at a critical inflection point in our nation’s history. And we are heartbroken. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others come at a time when our world is reeling from the devastation of COVID-19. The health and economic impact of the pandemic is disproportionately ravaging communities of color that suffer from generations of prejudice, poverty and racism. We have reached a breaking point in our country, driven apart by the scourge of systemic racism and social injustice. This is a call to action for every one of us to stand up in support of equity and justice and stand against injustice and racism.
I have spoken with many of you and I share your feelings of sadness, anger and desperation for change and a completely new way forward. I am heartened by the multitude of voices that are banding together to speak out against racism and bias that traumatize individuals, families and communities. And, as important as it is to speak out, it is also a time for me, and anyone with privilege, to listen and learn. It is our responsibility.
Wayfinder is committed to real and lasting societal change and being a part of the solution. Since 1953 we have maintained a sharp focus on advancing equity for those who are excluded or underserved. We recognize that systemic racism and generational poverty are complex and deeply rooted problems. There are no easy solutions. But we also recognize that working together is the best way to build a different world. We will continue to work with our funding partners, government partners, other committed social sector leaders and local and national associations to advance policies and services on behalf of the most vulnerable – those living in poverty and people of color. Because we believe Black lives matter. Because we believe in a better future for our children.
There is action behind our words. In recent years, Wayfinder has taken important steps toward building a more equitable world – one in which all children, adults and families can enjoy health, safety and resilience.
- All of our work advances equity and is in service of improving the social determinants of health for our clients and families, with a focus on equal access to health and well-being, economic opportunity, educational success and safety and resilience.
- Advancing equity is a key pillar of our strategic plan and we are working to embed equity, diversity and inclusion at every level of our organization, including our board of directors. We will continue to ensure that staff from underrepresented groups have the opportunity to grow and become leaders, and that Wayfinder’s leadership teams reflect the communities we serve. We also engage those who receive our services so that they are included in their treatment planning, service design and goal setting.
- In 2019, we formed the organization’s first Inclusion Council, a committee of employees across the state of California, who are serving as champions for diversity, equity and inclusion and fostering open discussions within our organization.
- As an organization committed to learning, we began offering implicit bias and anti-racism education to our workforce and leadership last year. We will continue enhancing our employees’ leadership and professional development with content that disrupts bias.
We recognize that we can and must do more. We will continue to stand together for diversity, inclusion, justice and equity. We will continue to speak out against racism and bias. We will continue to listen and learn. We will because we are Wayfinders. Together, with you, we will forge a new way forward.
President & CEO
Wayfinder Family Services