Dear SJCS Family Members,
The shocking killing of George Floyd, and so many other black citizens at the hands of law enforcement and criminal vigilantes clearly bring to the forefront the systemic racism that is prevalent in our society. The gut-wrenching video is further evidence that cannot be ignored, justifying the outrage, subsequent peaceful protests, and calls for accountability and reform. For over 150 years, we have been a voice and a positive force for change and equality in the communities we serve. At this pivotal moment, with so much pain in the community, we want to be part of the voices and solutions that will help bring about change and healing.
We were founded by St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1868 in Washington, D.C.—the same church that was used for a photo opportunity by the President, after peaceful protesters were tear-gassed and physically driven out of neighboring Lafayette Park by Federal and military authorities. SJCS Artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities have often created beautiful paintings of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and while we no longer have a formal relationship with the Church, their role in our history, as well as their response to the violent actions used against peaceful protesters, is an inspiration to us.
At St. John’s Community Services, we are Advocates for All, “Advancing inclusive communities, where every person, regardless of circumstances, has the right and opportunity to live their best life.” We lend our voice in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the peaceful protests that are happening. We advocate for change in this historic moment, and the dismantling of the systems of racial injustice and inequality. We denounce the escalation of conflict and the police brutality that has happened during these protests, and applaud those officers, officials, and protesters calling and acting for peace and the right to peaceful demonstrations.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will continue to listen, learn, advocate, and act for change, justice, and equality. We invite you to help us and thank you for your continued support.
Alan Thornton, President & CEO