Inter-Faith Council for Social Service

We're in this together

We’re in this together

June 9, 2020

In recent months, our IFC community has collectively responded to the immediate crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic. We came together, modified programs so that essential services could safely continue, and welcomed an outpouring of community support. Together, we did what we always do and cared for each other during hard times. Thank you!

As we continue to respond to the challenges of Covid-19, we also turn our attention to another pandemic that is ravaging our communities of color. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were the latest atrocities exposing violent systemic racism in our country. They underscore the reality that there are still people in the world who think black lives don’t matter. As we process these events within our beloved IFC community, our hearts are broken. We acknowledge that we must explicitly speak out against the racism that, like the pandemic, is killing black people in our country. As an organization, we affirm that BLACK LIVES MATTER. We pledge to amplify black voices and other voices of color and to engage white allies in our work. We must act now.

IFC staff, members, and residents gathered last week in small groups to listen and support each other. Some people made signs and marched. Others shared their feelings. We heard that people are deeply saddened and scared for their own lives and those of the people they love. They are hurt and angry, beleaguered by generational pain and oppression that expresses itself in a variety of often conflicting feelings. Staff are having trouble sleeping, are feeling anxious and are wondering how to explain this inexplicable violence to their children. It’s painful and difficult for many to watch the news, much less to report to work.

IFC demands a better future where people of color:

  • feel safe, valued, and genuinely cared for
  • are not blamed for hardships caused by unjust systems
  • feel equally valued at public meetings and in public discourse
  • are able to vote without undue burdens
  • can run through a neighborhood, walk down a sidewalk or through a parking lot without being profiled
  • are allowed be angry without being seen as threatening or ungrateful
  • have healthy food to feed their families
  • have dignified housing in which to live
  • are paid fairly for the work they do

As the country moves from Covid-19 response to recovery, we must remember that for our communities of color, returning to “normal” is still wholly inadequate. Poverty still exists, and structural inequities in housing, food systems, healthcare, education, and the criminal justice system mean that hardships will remain the norm for our black and brown neighbors.

IFC’s core values remind us of our interdependence: mutual respect, social justice, community power, self-determination, and integrity. They call us to examine our own policies and practices and lean into change, even when it’s difficult. They also require us to challenge the larger systems that prevent people of color from thriving.

IFC will continue to:

  • Entrust our REAL (Race.Equity.Advocacy.Leadership) Transformation Team to lead us in internal change, guided by a recently-completed organizational racial equity assessment. This team of members, volunteers, staff and board members has been meeting for almost three years to advance our equity work.
  • Apply our Equity Filter when we make decisions that will impact people with lived experiences of oppression.
  • Engage our members and residents to vote, advocate, and increase their civic involvement in policy decisions that matter to them. We do this work through Activate! IFC and our collaboration with Community Empowerment Fund on Meeting of the Minds.

We’re in this for the long haul, and we find courage, strength, and hope in each other and in our shared commitment to create a community where everyone’s basic needs are met.

Thank you for being in this for the long haul with us.