As we observe the Juneteenth holiday, we acknowledge that the enslavement of Black people was indisputably a historic atrocity that continued until 1865 when chattel slavery in this country finally ended with the liberation of Black slaves in Texas. But over 150 years later, the status of Black people is still precarious. Unsettling statistics demonstrate the disproportionality of Black children subjected to child welfare investigations and foster care placements, as well as equally distressing statistics related to African Americans and incarceration, education (high school and college graduation), homelessness, mental health, addiction, and income clearly demonstrate that there is still so much to be done!
Graham’s Vision 2025 makes bold strides toward our mission to “make a life-altering difference with children, youth and families who are overcoming some of life’s most difficult challenges and obstacles, by helping to build a strong foundation for life: a safe, loving, permanent family and the opportunity and preparation to thrive in school and in the world.” Specifically, our vision goal to “change biased systems and fight inequity” carries with it an imperative to take on the racist policies, practices, and systems that block opportunities, impede growth, and deny our children, youth, families, and communities a thriving future. We have committed to change systems and fight inequity alongside our communities and in collaboration with colleagues and partners who are like-minded. Sometimes we will do it alone, making a path where there is none and sometimes, we will join others who are ahead of us and leading the way.
This commitment also means looking inward, continually examining Graham’s motives and intentions to make sure that what we do and how we do it is aligned with our convictions. None of this will be easy. There will be many moments of agreement and solidarity. But, undoubtedly there will also be difficult moments with strained conversations. There may even be times we won’t know what to say or do. This will be an opportunity of learning for us all. But, being guided by the Graham Pillars of Respect and Lead, as a One Graham community, I am confident that we will see progress and victories together.
I want to thank you for your support and belief in us. I appreciate you and I am grateful we are on this journey together.