As our country continues to be enveloped in the strongest calls for racial justice we have seen in years, the path forward is clear: in order to fully live out the mission of St. Francis Community Services, we must commit to creating an agency that promotes racial equity in every facet of our work. We must show that Black lives and Brown lives matter. Racism is infused in the fabric of our country, and the nonprofit sector is no exception. St. Francis must be committed to listening and learning, but most importantly, changing our organization to ensure that racial equity is at the center of everything we do.
Our mission to walk beside community members includes advocating for – and making a reality – equitable outcomes for all people in our region. Racial equity is a state where outcomes, such as health, education, or income, are not predictable by race. As Forward Through Ferguson states, “data suggests, time and again, that our institutions and existing systems are not equal, and that this has racial repercussions.” St. Francis aims to be an active part of the solution.
Over the coming months and years, we commit to looking at every aspect of our organization to ensure we are promoting the types of racially equitable outcomes we want to see in our world. This will impact everything about St. Francis – from hiring practices to service delivery. Along the way, we will encounter moments that make us uncomfortable, but we will face our discomfort and work through it. The gains for our organization and our St. Louis community are too strong to ignore. When more people are thriving, we all thrive.
We look forward to this new chapter in our organization’s history, and to updating the community as we progress.
Karen Wallensak, Executive Director