In Sadness, Anger, and Hope We Stand Together

June 4, 2020

Dear Friends,

All of us at Way Finders join you in sadness and in anger.

Today, hundreds of people attended a private memorial service in Minneapolis for George Floyd who was murdered by four police officers. And, as we know, this type of violence continues to take place in cities and towns across the country. Today, we must also remember Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and so many other black, brown, and indigenous people who have lost their lives.

All of us share responsibility for ensuring that justice prevails. Change does not come without speaking up, protesting, and insisting on solutions.

Here in Western Massachusetts, we joined with elected officials, religious leaders, and our neighbors young and old, white, black, and brown citizens to share our sorrow, fears, and aspirations. We all were there to support each other and to renew our commitment to bring an end to the injustice faced by too many of our black and brown brethren.

Our team at Way Finders is representative of our diverse community. Many of our staff members choose to work here because they can play a direct role in helping fellow citizens in need. Together, we have worked to end discrimination, find housing for those who are homeless, bring new life to underserved neighborhoods, and create opportunities for our clients to improve the future for their families.  

The history of housing programs, of the work that we do, is marked by protests in the 1960s that resulted in the devastation of urban neighborhoods across the country. Because of these events, the country developed new programs to bring investments to our cities and to create decent housing for families. Hundreds of thousands of new homes were developed as a result. This era also marked the creation of Community Development Corporations, Community Action Agencies, civil rights legislation, and many other initiatives.

We would not have the housing programs, and the housing that they produced, had it not been for the protests of our past.  Like you, we ask, must people die before we are motivated to do the right thing? From today’s sadness and anger, we must join together and demand an end to racism and a commitment to justice. We must work together to continue asking the hard questions and work toward solutions.
 
We have made some progress but clearly, it’s not enough. Every day, we see evidence of systemic racism. We must continue our fight against the inequities that exist in education, housing, and healthcare. Way Finders pledges to continue to be a leader, partner, and voice of change and hope in our community and throughout the state. Together, and in unity, we can make change happen.

Let your voices be heard. Vote. Comfort a neighbor. Listen with an open mind to someone who might have a different background or experience from your own.

We wish you peace and safety, free of pandemics, and liberated from the grips of racism.  

Sincerely,

Peter Gagliardi and the Staff and Board of Directors at Way Finders

 

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