Tuesday, June 2, 2020
By Headway Staff

The events of the past nine days have emotionally overwhelmed our team members, our families, our clients, our support networks the Twin Cities, the state, and the nation. The pain, anger, and fear are indelibly written in our hearts and minds. Our individual and collective psyche lack the ability to process the witnessing of the termination of life. It has and will continue to affect every aspect of our lives.

For many of our team members, the pain, anger, fear, and trauma provoked by the killing of George Floyd is an everyday part of their identity and lives. For others, we have the opportunity to empathize and awaken ourselves to the cancers of racism, inequality, dismissiveness, and powerlessness. As an organization Headway must live up to our values and mission. We must stand together, we must stand up for one another, we must acknowledge, feel, and commit to finding a place for the fear, hurt, and outrage to motivate us to work to eliminate the existence of racism and disempowerment.

The personal and institutional history of systemic racism has been exposed during the last 9 days. The community as a whole, many of us for the first time, is personally seeing the everyday experience of deeply rooted racism against our black and brown communities. It exists in the justice system, the healthcare system, the school system, employment, housing, and personal safety.

For our team members and families of color who are hurting right now, you are not alone. We see you, we value you, and your presence makes us better people and a better organization. The quality of your emotional and physical health matters. It’s more important than ever for us to talk and connect with one another and find healing in our humanity. Know that our EAP and other resources are available as needed.

Prior to the death of George Floyd, many of us choose to focus on indications of progress rather than attending to the deficits that remain unaddressed. To create change, we have to reexamine our own views and actions in light of a pain that is deeply felt but too often ignored. Issues of human dignity will not abide standing on the sidelines. It is our responsibility as individuals and the community to bring about progress, celebrate it but to keep our focus on the mission of equity resulting in a fear-free life for all who live in our community.

Over the past three months, there has been continuous questioning of when we as a society will return to normal.  George Floyd’s killing and the subsequent events tell us that we cannot allow life to return to how it was prior to May 25. We owe it to our families, our neighbors, and our community structures to create an equitable “normal” based on the sanctity of life, justice, and respect.

In our work and our lives, we must hold space for the life experiences of all clients. As we process these events, we are called to respect those with whom we interact with and serve. Headway’s role is not to judge or to turn away. Our role is to listen, to support, and to empower people of all ages and life experiences to find emotional health. While this can be extraordinarily difficult, it is Headway’s mission and I ask for each and every one of us to honor and support it.

In solidarity and companionship,

Pat Dale, CEO

June 2, 2020

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