To our Nurse-Family Partnership and Child First Community,

This past weekend, Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York drove over 200 miles to Buffalo and opened fire at a supermarket shooting 11 Black people. In a posted hate-filled manifesto online, Payton chose the location for the attack because of its high Black population. This story is nauseatingly familiar. The FBI reported last year that hate crimes in the U.S. had risen to the highest levels in 12 years; surged largely by assaults on Black and Asian Americans.

As these horrific events continue in our communities, it is devastating, traumatizing and painful for all of us. While each of us is grappling with this, our Black staff may carry this weight differently. Let’s all remember to be mindful in our speech and engagement with each other, and ensure we are holding space for each other.

We cannot just wait until tragedy strikes to recognize the reality of racism, bias and discrimination. We must learn to recognize how it shows up in our institutions and personal lives on a day-to-day basis, and take a strong stand against it, even when it places us in a vulnerable, uncomfortable position. Choosing to practice equity, inclusion and justice in our lives is precisely how we can take a stand as individuals and as an organization against this rising tide of hate.

At the National Service Office, we are making significant investments to ensure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism are embedded in how each of us does our work, to ensure every family receives equitable and respectful care, resources and support. We are committed to ensuring our entire NSO community, our affiliates and our families all have spaces for processing and healing from racism, so we can move forward together in creating a more just and equitable world.