Over the last few days in the communities where we work and live, we have witnessed the sadness and anger over recent injustices – especially as it surrounds the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. But we know that these events are only the most recent in a long history of systemic racism, injustice and violence against Black people in this country.
We see the righteous anger of people rising up against this injustice and we support those who are protesting, bringing to light a history of inequality, and demanding change.
As a company dedicated to the provision of affordable, safe and sustainable homes for people in need, we add our voice to these protests.
We recognize the housing industry is built on the same inequalities and injustices that so many are protesting against today. A history of redlining and discriminatory housing policies have resulted in further disenfranchisement of people of color, and Black people in particular. We are committed to doing our small part, through the provision of affordable housing and supportive services.
We believe that everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to call home, and we believe that fairness and housing equity are critical parts of addressing racism and the equality gap in our country. Our commitment to fairness drives our work every day.
Mission First and its family of nonprofits works hard to advance housing equity, community development and economic advancement. But there is so much more work to do. We are committed to addressing the issue of institutional racism. More than half of our staff members are people of color. More than 75% of the people we provide housing and services for are Black. We see you, and we know you are in pain. We are committed to witnessing, to listening and to supporting our Black colleagues, neighbors and residents. We know that Black Lives Matter.
This is a watershed moment for us. We must do more to promote a system of equity and inclusion, actively work against racism in all its forms and help build a just world.
We routinely remind our staff to take care of themselves, and to reach out if they need help. Systemic racism is traumatic and it is perhaps the most significant crisis facing our nation. We remind all of our staff, residents, neighbors and community members to take care of yourself and to reach out if you need help. We ask our white colleagues and partners to use their privilege to advocate for your colleagues of color, to check on your coworkers and friends and ask how you can help. Then be prepared to listen.
With you in service,
Alfredo de la Peña
Chief Executive Officer
Mission First Housing Group