Amy Strite, President & CEO of Family Lifeline, distributed an open letter regarding recent events. As the broader country and our local community are beset with uncertainty and divisiveness, your role with Family Lifeline has become even more important. We hope you will take a few minutes to read the message below and reach out if you have any thoughts on how we can “create a plan to educate, inform, and encourage conversations”. Let’s continue to be leaders in the local community!
A few words to the staff, board, & volunteers at Family Lifeline…
For 140 years, Family Lifeline has sought to strengthen individuals, families, and our community by providing services to our neighbors. We have often done so under very difficult circumstances. We are struck today by the irony and the challenges of doing so in this time as well. How are we to provide services and strive for the outcomes we hope to achieve when all around us, throughout the country there is noise and violence that is an assault to the very essence of human beings?
While we are heartbroken, saddened, and yes, angered by the events in Charlottesville and elsewhere, we are not surprised. Racism has always been and remains, America’s “original sin”. Time and again in our history, we have seen ugly, violent outbursts directed at those who are deemed to be “other” (people of color, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, LGBT people, and women) by those who believe that they are the “real Americans”, the “true Americans”, the “rightful heirs of power”. While some among us may have thought we had moved past such thoughtlessness, others of us are made all too aware by our daily life experiences that we have not.
Let us be clear, there is no place for such divisiveness, hatred and bigotry at Family Lifeline. The hatred that was on such graphic display in Charlottesville has no place in a civilized society and it has no place at Family Lifeline. It flies in the face of our mission and our core values. We will not tolerate such bigotry, and we will do all that we can each and every day to stand in opposition to it.
We urge each one of you to take care of yourself. These are emotional and difficult times. The images we see, the words we hear, the concerns we have for our children and ourselves, all take a toll on us whether we are conscious of it or not. Go for a walk, get good rest, find joy every day, celebrate your accomplishments, ask for help when you need it, use the power you have for good. We implore you to be patient and kind with yourself and with others.
The people we serve, the most vulnerable among us, are especially targeted right now. They may or may not be able to identify why they feel especially stressed or just a little “off”, but almost certainly they could benefit from being treated with more respect, more kindness, and more patience. In a time where the indications are that many have markedly turned against them, we at Family Lifeline are committed to being the people who say with our words and demonstrate by our actions that, we stand with you because we are for you.
Finally, we encourage all of you who are part of the team here at Family Lifeline to be here for one another. Things around us will likely get even more difficult in the days and months to come. We are committed to doing what we can to foster an environment at FLL that encourages us to support one another, that treats all people with respect, and that acknowledges and honors our differences as well as our commonalities. We want to have the easy and the tough conversations here about race, about immigration, about all that we are experiencing in our community. It probably won’t be comfortable, but we know this is how we grow as individual people and as a team. And we know that in doing so we equip ourselves to serve others. Please note, there will be more to come as we create a plan to educate, inform, and encourage conversations.
As always, we thank you for your commitment and service to Family Lifeline.
Amy Strite, President & CEO