Dear CHD Colleagues and Friends,
The Center for Human Development came into existence in 1972, primarily as a reaction—and, we hoped, a remedy—to deep injustices in our nation’s system of care for children and adults with mental illness. Over time we expanded our mission to provide support to people living in poverty: people who then, as now, were and are disproportionately people of color, compared with our population as a whole. When we think about our nearly five decades of work as an organization, we realize that the greatest part of our success has been helping neglected and oppressed people find pathways to opportunity despite the barriers that society has too often placed before them.
It would be easy to look at events across America over the past few days and feel like we are failing. We are deeply troubled by recent events and the continuing violence against Black people, by the hate speech, by the regressive actions and words that appear to be intended to further restrict opportunity, to worsen injustice, to inflame and to injure. We want to express our support for and solidarity with all our colleagues who have suffered from these acts—not only in recent days but over their entire lifetimes.
Still, we can’t let the darkness of the current moment overcome us. We believe we are failing only if we fail to strengthen our resolve to fight racism, intolerance and injustice. And we want you to know that as an agency we will be fully committed to that fight.
To that end, we are convening a series of discussions to assess and build on our progress in supporting racial equality and fairness at CHD and in the community. Your physical and psychological safety has been and remains very important to us and to our entire leadership team, and we want to support you however we can.
We will remain true to our mission. We will keep breaking down the barriers. Thank you for your enormous courage and dedication—today and always.
Jim Goodwin and Nicole Gagne