Family Focus’ Statement in Response to the Murder of George Floyd

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To our participants, staff and the communities we serve,

As we face tremendous grief in response to the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other black lives, many in our communities are experiencing deep despair and turmoil. We can’t even begin to express the shock and disbelief over the death of a fellow community member killed in broad daylight by the police officers who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes. Many of us don’t know what to say right now – or are afraid of saying the wrong thing when comfort and leadership is needed most. We are sending this message to convey Family Focus’ commitment to support our community members. The injustice experienced has reignited emotions about our country’s deep history of racism that treats white people differently than black and brown people in the same community doing the same things. In the streets of Chicago and communities across this country and world, people are marching in George’s Floyd’s name and the injustice that has taken place.

Our hearts ache by the violence and destruction occurring and lives impacted by decades of injustice, inequity and racism. At a time like this, we believe that any sense of comfort can be found in the fundamental belief – and hope – that we can find the values that have brought out the best in each of us and build on these together.

The Principles of Family Support that have directed everything Family Focus does have never seemed more powerful, or more needed than they are today. Our mission to support families, in and with there communities, is based on working with understanding, compassion, respect and affirmation of the values of those we serve. Strong families make strong communities, preparing the next generation of leaders to create a world of justice, equity, embracing our individual strengths, talents and love for each other.

That begins with deliberate steps taken every day to move forward together. Everyone involved with Family Focus is working every day to become better allies and advocates for the communities we serve. We stand in solidarity with community members peacefully protesting against anti-black racism. We believe that we are each resilient, can learn from experience, and can come together to end racism and all forms of oppression.

While we strive to comfort those in pain, we can act. We can begin by listening to those most impacted by injustice and seeking to understand what they are experiencing. We can educate ourselves on how to become active allies to our community members facing racism. We can make sure our voices are heard by being counted in the census, by registering to vote and voting. Now is the time to show our staff, our participants, and our communities, that change begins with each of us.

Sincerely,

Caterina Varvaro
Interim President and CEO
Family Focus

P.S. We have added some additional educational resources about anti-racism and the history of systemic racism below.