A Message for our NAC community
Our nation is in the midst of an unprecedented national catastrophe. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor and so many others in our Black and Brown communities demonstrates how little progress this country has made on racism. We mourn their loss and are grieved and outraged by their deaths. The words, “I can’t breathe” resonates with all of us. The death of George Floyd has ignited a global cry for immediate and real change.
Over the decades, despite repeated attempts to stand up to horrific events of blatant persecution and oppression, we have been unable to end a system of corrosive structural racism. New Alternatives for Children (NAC) supports protest as a right of all Americans. The protests are an expression of profound hurt and rage against profiling, police brutality, and years of racial violence and discrimination. Reforms in public safety systems and enhanced training of our police force must be mandated for every precinct in this country in order to effect meaningful change. Our hope is that the system can be re-imagined as guardians for all communities.
Families of color do not feel safe. We have witnessed this at New Alternatives for Children, in settings where our families receive services including schools and health care, housing, or public assistance offices. The current COVID19 pandemic has disproportionally affected Black Americans which has added to the frustration, anxiety and fear that we are seeing in our children and their parents. Our staff is working to help with this trauma, and will continue to confront the extraordinarily complex issues we are facing as an agency working with a vulnerable population.
NAC remains committed to battling racial injustice and promoting racial equity for all people. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program will continue to examine and promote diversity and cultural humility within the entire NAC community. We will expand our training and will listen, learn, examine and educate ourselves and others. We are implementing strategies in NAC programs to address racial inequities and advance race consciousness within and outside of the NAC community.
We will continue to raise our voice with our funding sources, the government, and partners. As an agency, we reject the systemic racism of Black and Brown Americans and will do our part to bring about healing and transformative change in our city and country.
New Alternatives for Children, Inc. (NAC) was founded on the principle of inclusion: inclusion of children with special needs growing up in hospitals, foster care or with birth families. NAC recognizes that communities of color have been impacted by systemic racism throughout history, leading to significant disparities in child welfare, health care, housing, education and employment. The challenges of raising a child with complex medical conditions and disabilities is compounded when faced with growing up in poverty or with inadequate resources. We must work together to dismantle unfair policies and practices that sustain inequity while engaging with families day to day in a manner that creates greater access to needed resources.
Human capital is our most valuable asset and it is strengthened the more we are able to mirror the communities we serve. When clients see themselves reflected in a diverse staff, a sense of trust and credibility is engendered, giving rise to collaborative engagement. When staff feel empowered to bring their authentic selves to work, greater productivity, innovation, and engagement ensues. NAC endeavors to create and maintain a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace – at all levels – where individuals of every race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, education and ability feel valued and respected, and whose ideas and contributions are integrated into the fabric of our organizational culture.
NAC acknowledges that our vision of inclusion and belongingness requires conscious and deliberate action that can only be attained through a sustained and long-term commitment. To this end, we strive to commit to the following practices:
- Develop a system for being more intentional and conscious of bias as it relates to our work with clients, and during the hiring, promoting and evaluating processes within our workforce;
- Commit time and resources to building intercultural competencies through training, cross-cultural sharing, use of essential and updated language and brave conversations;
- Practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions and across all supervisory lines and structures;
- Rethink the ways we interact, removing explicit and implicit barriers to shared decision-making and full participation;
- Explore potential underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusiveness;
- Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs and services;
- Examine and commit to eliminating systemic inequities that impact our organization’s work and the communities we serve, in a way that is consistent with our mission.
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