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A MESSAGE FOR THE

CHA FAMILY

The message below was delivered to the CHA family on Thursday, June 6th.

 

From Celeste Dominguez, President/CEO:


This is such a difficult and painful time for our children, our staff, our communities, our state and our nation. Over this last week or so, I have had many conversations with staff and community members. Some of us have direct experiences and can directly relate to this pain. Many of us don’t and may be having trouble understanding and reconciling what is happening around us.


Regardless, there is no question that this is a tough time during which our communities are shaken as a result of what recently happened with George Floyd. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident and there are many other similar situations that have recently and historically happened in North Carolina and across our nation. This experience can be difficult to put words to, but it is clear that it hurts, it feels heavy, it weighs on us in different ways and it is hard to know what to do, what to say, and how to respond.


We are watching violence unfold in so many ways and impacting so many people….the rage and experience of injustice is real. The emotions are raw. The need to be still, to listen, to hear, to understand, to stand alongside each other is never so important as it is now.


In this very difficult time, it is important that our CHA community knows that we are listening and we want to be a support. As an agency that is driven by Hope Health and Healing for Generations, we recognize that what is happening is not just recent, it’s historic and there is a deep seated impact from the trauma that has been experienced by our black community that impacts hope, impacts health and impacts healing for individuals and communities.


The death of George Floyd is nothing short of a tragedy and one that calls us to assess how we can best serve our children, families, staff and community. This is a tragedy provoking many kinds of responses. We must see past any actions or persons that would distract us away from addressing the root of the systemic issues before us.


Because this is not the first time that such a tragedy has happened, because there is example after example of racism and hatred perpetrated against people of color, because systemic change has not happened to the degree necessary, because justice must prevail, it is understandable and necessary that the voices of the impacted will be and should be heard. History shows us that it sometimes takes extreme and extended measures for systems to change in a meaningful way. We are beyond overdue for lasting change.


At CHA we are committed to:

  • standing beside alongside our communities and proudly stating that Black Lives Matter;
  • standing on the side of social justice and equity;
  • not condoning acts of violence of any kind;
  • supporting peaceful protests of any kind;
  • true respect for all persons;
  • supporting our law enforcement partners and families that do not condone what happened and who are working every day to be a positive force in their communities;
  • caring for all our staff and all our children and families served;
  • loving and showing respect for everyone, no matter their station, opinion, how they look, act, etc. It is not our place to judge, but to love;
  • listening, hearing, empathizing, supporting, praying for and praying with any who are hurting; and
  • the leadership of this company addressing these and other important issues that affect the lives of so many.

 

Kevin Angell, Chief Program Officer added:

 

A sermon was recently shared with me where the minister offered that the word of God sits on our hearts until the heart is broken and then it falls in. The point being brokenness in our lives and crises in our world often become the seedbed for good ideas.


The best ideas about how to respond to race matters, for me, have come from being with other people who are pouring out their hearts in words and deeds, and be silent with them. Silent both in regards to not speaking but also in an inner response.


Trying hard to not to agree or disagree with what is said, but listening openly and not censoring or trying to control what is heard. This approach is not to be indifferent or impartial. As with all of us, I do have my thoughts on justice.


Right now in this moment we must first start with listening and really listening to the voice of our hurting brothers and sisters, and let them lead us toward real solutions that will bring healing to our world.
From a practical perspective one of the best books that was ever given to me by a mentor was Race Matters, written by Cornel West. I encourage anyone to read it if you are interested in enriching your understanding of race in America.


On behalf of all the people who are hurting, tired, and suffering in any way as a result of what is happening in our nation, we would now like to take a moment of silence.

 

Every single staff member is in our thoughts and prayers. 

On Monday, June 7th, we will be dedicating our social media channels to promote voices of color. This is a small step toward the marathon race that has to be run for overall change, but amplifying those who deserve to be heard is something that we can do.


I invite you to submit stories, continue the dialogue with your colleagues and leadership, and to demand better for those who have been marginalized. Please use the form below to contribute.