We are witnessing a nationwide call for racial justice in America, and St. Joseph’s Villa stands ready and committed to the cause. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are just recent examples of the systemic racism and marginalization that exist in America.
When St. Joseph’s Villa was founded in 1834, our mission was to serve the most vulnerable and marginalized children of Richmond. That is still our mission today – clearly our work is needed more than ever.
It’s time to move past dialogue and conversation to specific and tangible actions. We’ve always strived for equity, but we aren’t naïve enough to think that any organization is perfect, including our own.
Effective immediately, St. Joseph’s Villa will create and implement a professional training program for all staff that will further embed the importance of equity, inclusion, and cultural awareness in every aspect of our work. We will also commission an external facilitator to assess our organization and guide senior leadership, staff and board members on where we’re succeeding, where we’re falling short and the steps we need to take to ensure that we are an actively anti-racist organization.
All staff and board members will have the opportunity for their voice to be heard. We are a diverse team serving diverse members of our community, and we are committed to progressing in solidarity. As educators and human services professionals, our goal is to model equity in our work and prepare students to stand for social justice.
The sadness and frustration our Black community members are experiencing is heartbreaking. Racism simply has no place in our country. We remain hopeful that society will do better. But we will also be vigilant in validating that our actions are creating both meaningful and durable change as we take on these deeply rooted issues.
Kathleen Burke Barrett
Chief Executive Officer