“The Fierce Urgency of Now”

A Message from the Board and Staff of the Upper Valley Haven

When our country has failed to live up to its values through systemic racism and repeated patterns of police violence against Black Americans, how should we respond? We can start by stating unequivocally—Black Lives Matter. We can also listen and learn from the anguish and anger we see and hear throughout this country. We can promise to take action that will foster change.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once spoke of the “fierce urgency of now.” The Haven feels that urgency.

Over the past few weeks, we have reflected on the Haven’s mission and sought counsel from diverse voices in our community on ways to better ally with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in vision and practice.

The Haven is proud of its 40-year history of providing essential supports of food, shelter, community education and problem solving. At the Haven we have helped thousands of people to be more secure in their lives and have new beginnings with promising futures. It has been, and continues to be, our mission to welcome all who enter our doors as equals.

But we know there is more work to be done to address racism and economic injustice right here in the Upper Valley and throughout this country.

We pledge as an organization to take these actions in a commitment to anti-racism:

  • To be more cognizant of the significant role that racism plays in the causes of hunger, food insecurity, and homelessness and to make our voices head that eliminating these conditions must be of highest priority for national, state, and local governments.
  • To support reforms, at every level of government, that combat police violence and systemic racism within law enforcement, the administration of justice and throughout society.

We further pledge to incorporate the values of racial and social justice within our own organization. Specifically, we commit to:

  • Incorporate anti-racism into our training and education for our board, staff and volunteers.
  • Prioritize the realization of greater racial, ethnic and cultural diversity among our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and community advisors.
  • Review our use of images and language that welcome people to the Haven campus, on social media, and in all communications through the lenses of ethnicity, color, sexual identity, gender identity, language, immigration status, and ability, and set goals of improvement for inclusivity.
  • Increase our purchases of goods and services from minority and women-owned businesses.
  • Ensure we are providing equal access to our programs and services through outreach to under-served populations.

The vision of the Haven is to create a community where everyone can find hope and discover possibility. Through our actions and by joining with others who are also committed to change, we can and will do more. This is our promise.

June 16, 2020

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