A memo from our President & CEO Raul Garza to staff on, Standing Up To Racial Injustice

To All Employees,

The overt acts of racism that have occurred across our country over the past few weeks are truly disturbing. The tragic events that have been covered extensively by the media recently are truly some of the worst examples, but they are not the only racist events that have occurred in the past month, past week, or even the past day. Racism of varying degrees occurs every minute of every day – some with tragic outcomes such as the heartbreaking cases of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.  May they both rest in peace.       

Although the internet and social media has, at times, allowed racism to be more readily exposed, racism in our country is not a new reality. The dark history of mistreatment of people who are perceived to be “different” than those in power has scarred this country and all who call it home. The disadvantages created by the vicious cycle of historic and ever-present racism is immense.  And the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified the inequalities that already existed.

Recognizing and calling out racism is the first step in bringing about change. To do our part, we must stand up against racial injustice and make a commitment to be overtly anti-racist.  That is the commitment that we all must share. It is not only our duty as human beings or U.S. citizens, but also as individuals who, as members of the Aunt Martha’s team, have committed our lives to addressing the effects of the racial and social injustice many of our patients and participants have experienced throughout their lives.

As an organization, Aunt Martha’s believes that we have a duty to stand up against what is wrong – whether it is against an individual, a company, an association, or even a municipality.  That belief is reflected in our long history of standing up for the rights of DCFS youth in care, the majority of whom are children of color, especially African American youth, whose lives have been immeasurably impacted by the weight of racial and social injustice this country has failed to accept and address over hundreds of years. This belief is what underlies Aunt Martha’s decision and commitment to our fight against the discriminatory actions of the Village of Midlothian.  And as I have said before, it is a fight from which we will not shy away.      

This is the time that we must all bond together – to treat one another with respect, to appreciate our differences, and to recognize that there are those among us who, based simply on the color of their skin, are more at risk than others. To our hundreds of team members of color, I am immensely sorry that this is your reality. Please know that myself and the rest of the Aunt Martha’s leadership is here for you and we will do anything we can to support you. As always, your safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance. Please be safe as you travel to work or within your communities over the coming days and do not hesitate to reach out to us if needed.     

And if you feel that you would benefit from additional support during this difficult time, you can reach out to me or any member of Aunt Martha’s leadership team. Confidential counseling services are also available through the Employee Assistance Program by calling 1-800‐292‐2780.