This place is for one, and all.
The last three months of the public health crisis have put a significant strain on our organization’s ability to keep our resident families safe; they have created additional hardships for families already dealing with the most difficult time of their lives; they have pushed us all apart from each other physically and emotionally.
All of this has required reflection, discomfort, and exhausted many in the Brent’s Place community. However, now we are challenged further to conduct self-examination and begin to address the pain and varied emotions felt by our staff, families, organization, and community concerning the systematic racism and inequality again brought to light by the senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. The last several weeks remind us of how fragile and precious life is – and also how fragile, and precious community is. My staff and I share the grief, sorrow, and – yes – anger at the long-standing fractures across our country that contributed to the loss of the Black lives mentioned, and so many others before. Such heinous events, and the attitudes and systems that lead to them, have no place in our nation. No true community can hold space for hatred, fear, or indifference when a neighbor is suffering.
The delay in distributing an extended statement in no way reflects our immediate focus on and attention to the situation happening in our country. Our team has taken time to reflect on our place in the discussion surrounding these tragic events, and we don’t wish to let the opportunity pass to use our voice and resources to call for and make change.
I have found myself struggling to find the right way to express myself and represent our organization. I have come to realize that I am an eager voice in support of all those facing medical crises and the pain and hardship that comes with it. I have experienced that journey and the loss and suffering that comes with it. It is a space that I can fill with confidence and conviction. I now realize, however, that while my passion and commitment to justice and equality are equally strong, I am struggling to express myself because it has required that I admit my ignorance and naivete regarding race and social justice.
Despite my struggles, our team and their commitment to participating in change have inspired me and pushed me to find my voice. While it will take time for me and for the organization to fully understand our role and the changes we can make internally and how to effect change externally, it is clear that the following must happen:
I must take what is going on around us and direct my energy inward to question myself, my reality, and my actions.
I must lead our team in using a new lens to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and safe environment for our staff, families, and volunteers. Take an objective look at our business operation practices and protocols to foster a culture that minimizes bias, and recognizes and addresses systematic inequities.
We must embrace the voice we have as an organization and help the community we work in push to make equality and justice a reality for everyone.
I must band together with other leaders and organizations to push those who lead our cities, states, and country to use this wave of pain, sorrow, and anger to make lasting change for citizens of every color and economic position.
In the same spirit of community with which we embrace the families under our protection and care, today, we stretch out our arms to our extended family of Black mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. As Brent’s Place employees, and collectively as an organization working in the public’s trust, we rededicate these values to you:
Compassion by understanding your hopes and fears while striving to make your journey better.
Integrity by continually building relationships based on trust through honesty, sincerity, transparency, and accountability.
Respect by treating you with courtesy, consideration, and sensitivity to your individual experiences and perspectives.
Responsibility by fulfilling our organizational role in the community, as a good steward of your faith and trust to contribute to the changes needed to make your life better and safer.
Quality of Life by creating a culture that values the fulfillment of your hopes and dreams, and those that you hold for your loved ones.
At Brent’s Place, every day, we see the power of unity, resolve, solidarity, resilience, and love. And we stand with the Black community in calling for the broken institutions to be repaired and the toxic attitudes to be extinguished so that every family, every race, every religion, and every creed experiences safe harbor, peace, compassion and unity across every community.
Chief Executive Officer