Standing in Solidarity and Committed to Action
These are unprecedented times and our hearts are heavy. We must acknowledge in no uncertain terms that America has not lived up to its ideals. The murder of George Floyd and the manner of his death have given rise to nationwide protests that reflect the truth that systemic racism persists in our country. America has not achieved a just society for all.
To achieve the dream of a just society, we must recognize that black Americans experience the brunt of systemic injustice, which is then reflected in life outcomes. Simultaneously, we are experiencing a global pandemic that has led to the collapse of our economy and to mass unemployment. Despite these circumstances, we have a history of perseverance, and we refuse to abandon the belief in a better, more diverse and just world.
This is all too familiar. JVS SoCal was organized in 1931 to fight the injustice experienced by immigrants who were marginalized, excluded from meaningful employment and barred from full acceptance into society. JVS SoCal formed partnerships and collaborations to overcome societal barriers and we have sustained this practice through the depression, wars, recessions and crisis after crisis, staying focused on creating a better world and diverse workplace. American society has made progress, but the recent protests are testimony to the work that still remains to be done. JVS SoCal’s vision of hope and economic opportunity for all may not be achieved in our lifetime, but we are inspired by the Greek proverb that, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
JVS SoCal’s mission, vision and values form the framework that sustains our focus to make a more just society by “Building better lives, one job at a time by empowering individuals to achieve dignity and economic independence through sustainable employment.”
We will take the following actions:
- To provide cultural sensitivity and inclusion training to all our staff
- To enhance our social justice advocacy network and partner with other Community Benefit Organizations to enact legislation to address systemic inequality
- To include the voices of staff and clients in our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Board Committee
- To stay true to our values and remain steadfast in our mission as we help thousands of individuals who have lost their jobs or been furloughed
- To listen, learn and act
JVS SoCal has long believed we are made better by the diversity that exists within our communities. The events going on around us are one more painful reminder that injustice remains in our world. We have much work to do. Tremendous change is needed. We will strive to be a positive force for change in the communities we serve.