A Statement from Habitat Chesapeake CEO, Mike Posko:
We would be remiss if we failed to say that the past few weeks have been life-altering for us as leaders of an organization devoted to building homes, communities and hope for all.
From the unwarranted death of George Floyd to the Black Lives Matter Protests that have spread from Minneapolis to the entire country and cities across the globe, this time has a tremendous impact upon our views of our work with Habitat.
Over the last several weeks, we have faced the challenge of balancing emotions ranging from sadness to anger. Mostly, we have longed to do more to help those around us without knowing exactly how to truly help.
The grief, loss and persistent injustices has made us want to stand more fully against systematic inequality and racial injustices — knowing that many Habitat families and friends whom we hold dear to our hearts are hurting.
As an organization, these times have confirmed to us that we are more than affordable housing advocates and the work we do extends beyond building homes.
Our work changes lives and fulfills a vision that all individuals and families — regardless of their color, gender, age, faith or sexual orientation —- can pursue and accomplish their dreams. It is an important work that builds hope and empowers progress.
Our work is one that shouldn’t be discounted. Even still, there is more we can do. There is so much more.
Moving forward, we pledge greater action to change the disparities created by institutional racism. We must, throughout our work, do a better job of connecting issues of racial and social injustice with historic barriers to affordable housing.
We pledge to work even harder — in our practices and programs and within our networks — to bring greater equity and help bring justice to the communities in which we work.
As a part of this commitment, On Friday, June 19, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake will mark Juneteenth — the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States — with a Day of Reflection, Action and Solidarity.
We encourage you to join our staff and board in a time of education to screen the Netflix documentary “13th.” The film offers a deep dive into the passage of 13th Amendment Abolishing Slavery, followed blistering efforts to perpetuate of racial inequalities through mass incarceration of African-Americans.
You can watch Netflix documentary 13th for free on YouTube and on Netflix.
Finally, we commit to creating an environment where humility, open communication, dialogue and listening become our standard. In addition to being a space where people of all races, all faiths and all backgrounds can come together in common cause, we commit to being actively anti-racist. We devote ourselves to affirming, through word and action, that Black Lives Matter. We know that our work and our engagement with communities must further this fundamental truth.
We will ensure that our work is infused with courage and accountability so that we make our commitment to equity a living reality. Thank you for choosing to grow with us and for being co-partners in bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.
On behalf of everyone at Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, stay healthy and safe,