It is important, at this unsettled time, to remember that York County Community Action/Nasson Health Care was born out of a commitment to fundamental principles:
It is the policy of the United States to [create for] everyone the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity.
Those words are from our founding document, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, and they endure as principles that YCCAC/Nasson Health Care is committed to advancing.
But let’s be candid. Recent events demand we acknowledge that in our country, and even in the communities in which we work, many of us—and an increasing number of us—are not afforded the opportunity to live in decency and dignity.
So how can we as an organization respond? I have some ideas:
• Let’s acknowledge that, despite our aspirational ideals, racism is real, sexism is real, poverty is prevalent and opportunities are not equal;
• Let’s join our voice with organizations and organic movements demanding equity;
• Let’s talk to each other about these issues, even though they make us uncomfortable;
• Let’s examine our own language and behavior, and be open to the possibility that we have hurt others with our words, jokes or symbols;
• Let’s be thoughtfully empathetic, and acknowledge the stress of living in a town or city where one doesn’t trust one’s neighbors, or those authorized to constrain others, such as the police or prosecutors.
I have already heard from some of you with your thoughts about recent developments. Many of you have expressed pride that you are part of an organization that not only values the dignity of all people, but boldly articulates that in its mission statement.
Addressing systemic and structural inequity is at the heart of why we exist as an organization. I welcome your ideas about how we can, at this potent time, move closer to achieving the goals set for us more than 50 years ago.