At Family Transition Place (FTP), as we continue to bear witness to and participate in peaceful demonstrations of solidarity here in our community and around the world, our resolve to bring an end to systemic racism and racial injustice has never been stronger. Black Lives Matter and we must be willing to acknowledge our collective privilege and lack of personal perspective on the painful experiences of all marginalized identities. We know now is the time for open and honest dialogue and introspection into our own agency values. Now is the time to lean in, and ask tough questions of ourselves and each other.
Organizationally, we do not have all of the answers. We never will. This doesn’t mean we stop or slow our advocacy efforts, our thirst for knowledge and our endless support of marginalized and vulnerable communities. Violence, discrimination and racism have never been and will never be tolerated at FTP. Being respectful and inclusive is woven into our DNA. But we asked ourselves: How do we improve upon our strong foundation? What more can we do—individually, within our agency and together with our community?
Organizations that were founded and managed primarily by people who are white have benefited, either consciously or unconsciously, from structures that were created within an inherently racist system; one that works against Indigenous, Black and People of Colour. While FTP did not create these oppressive systems, now is not the time to be complacent, but to acknowledge this privilege, challenge ourselves, and bring about long overdue systemic change—at FTP and in society as a whole.
Over the past few weeks, informally with one another and formally—through our Values and IDEA (Inclusivity Diversity Equality Accessibility) Committees—we have reflected on our individual experiences and the impact that racism has had in our personal and professional lives. We have had tough conversations and revelations about our privilege, unlearning racial biases and the uncomfortable truth that systemic racism is embedded in our broader culture and structure and is seemingly inescapable. We have been sharing important resources and thought-provoking literature with one another. We are all attending online workshops in an effort to broaden our understanding, knowledge and perspectives. We have updated our board recruitment language, re-enforcing our commitment to unlearning biases and working towards undoing systemic racism and oppression towards, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, 2SLGBTQ+ and all marginalized identities. Moving forward, this language will also be used through all agency hiring and volunteer recruitment processes.
We are proud of these strides we have made internally, but this work will be ongoing. It has to be.
We are wholeheartedly committed to bettering ourselves, our community, and the families we serve. We will amplify the intersectionality of racism and gender based violence within the larger context of historical, social and political contexts as we move forward. We will continually examine the ways in which we unconsciously and consciously contribute to discriminatory systems—within FTP and beyond. Racism and inequality are not just issues for a select few to address—they belong to everyone. And we owe it to one another to continue to take an informed and active role in deconstructing and destabilizing the structures that support these oppressive systems, here at FTP, in our community, our country and around the world.