The tragic death of George Floyd in May of 2020 shook the nation and brought forth a passionate and broad call for ending systemic racism in our country. St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore shared our outrage and concern for George Floyd and those who have died before him from violence born out of systemic racism. We also expressed our solidarity with individuals, organizations, and communities across the nation calling for transformative change so that the atrocity of what happened to Mr. Floyd, as well as other symptoms of systemic racism, are ended for good.
St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore strongly condemns racism in all forms, especially the violence and social injustices that affect people of color, and particularly Black Americans, who too often are treated unfairly not only in our criminal justice system, but in other areas such as education, housing, employment, and healthcare. We unfortunately see the impact of these disadvantages play out with the many vulnerable people we serve every day.
True change only happens when each of us as individuals and as organizations carefully listen to those with lived experience, fully acknowledge the racial disparities that exist, and deeply examine with honesty our own integral roles in the current systems, structures, and biased attitudes that provide explicit and implicit advantages for white people, and overt and hidden disadvantages for people of color. It is only with such examination and understanding that we can work to correct the legacy of structural racism and bias that persist to this day.
Our organization has a long-standing history of supporting racial justice. But that is not enough. We have made a new commitment to hold ourselves accountable for the following seven equity measures:
1. Work to consistently uphold and advance the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion within our own organization;
2. Actively work against internalized and systemic racism, confront prejudices and stereotypes, seek to counter the disadvantages we see, work to dismantle oppressive policies and power dynamics, and fight against the many ways that structural racism manifests itself;
3. Build relationships of trust and collaboration and actively join with partner institutions and organizations in advocating for anti-racist policies and practices that reduce disparities and promote equitable solutions, particularly in the areas of housing, education, workforce development, and food access;
4. Continue and further our practice of hiring and promoting people of color and diverse backgrounds and characteristics to positions of leadership within our organization;
5. Increase employee awareness of implicit bias through ongoing training, confront our own biases, and embrace discussions about racial equity and inclusion as a normal part of our organization culture;
6. Promote racial and cultural sensitivity in our employment and hiring practices, in the way we treat our clients, and in how we deliver our services;
7. Strive to constantly learn from others, recognizing that achieving greater equity for all is not so much a defined goal as it is an ongoing pursuit.
Importantly, we will strive with honesty and integrity to consistently make all these measures an integral part of how we approach our work.