Our space is the empowerment of children, especially children who live in low-income communities. We have a broad support base and have avoided divisive and political discussions, focusing our message on the dignity, worth, and future of our kids. Our message brings hope and gives our supporters an opportunity to make a difference in their communities. The three primary components of our messaging have been:
- We believe in the dignity and self-worth of every child;
- We celebrate the dedication of those who work to make children’s lives better;
- We strive for a better world in which all children have what they need, including shoes, dignity and respect.
But many of those we serve—especially the children we serve—are experiencing deep hurt right now. We must listen. We must respond.
Given our mission and the communities we serve, we have an inherent responsibility to educate ourselves. Our decisions need to be made through the lens and experiences of the children we serve. We must do the hard work to become anti-racist as individuals and as an organization. This does not mean that we politicize our organization. It means that we must stand firmly on the side of racial equality and justice.
Shoes That Fit believes that Black Lives Matter. We support the cries for justice in a society that has never fully confronted its legacy of slavery and the struggle for civil rights. We cannot be silent when our mission is to provide an opportunity for children to grow and reach their full potential. We must strive to understand their challenges and support them.
Our mission aims to break through the roots of systemic racism. We believe that investing in the education and well-being of our children has a profound impact on their lives, and we are committed to working towards a more just and equal world where all children have equal opportunities.
The Executive Committee will organize a facilitated forum for Board and staff to discuss what it means as an organization to support Black Lives Matter and work we need to do internally to become a more equitable, just and inclusive organization.
We will also form a Diversity and Equity Task Force of Board and staff to further our work by
- Recommending policies to ensure diversity in our Board and staff
- Evaluating our programs and practices through the lens of the children we serve
- Creating a values statement for the organization to guide decisions
If anyone is not sure what to say, or how to communicate in these times, that is ok. Listening and reflecting before acting is ok. We may not all agree on the particulars of politics and policy. But I know we stand together in affirming a universal moral truth: our Black and Brown brothers’ and sisters’ voices matter. Their lives matter.