We are hearing so many responses to Saturday’s mass shooting. Tragic. Senseless. Hate-filled. Horrific. They are all true but do not really capture what has happened. The event is so much deeper than our ability to define it in simple terms.

 

Saturday’s shooting is a continuation of the events that have become endemic in American society. Sandy Hook. Ahmaud Arbery. Greenwood. Emanuel AME Church. This message does not have room for all the examples. Saturday’s murders are local but the geography does not define our outrage– and grief. These feelings are especially true for our black and brown colleagues and friends. We recognize that you are impacted by the recent events differently, more personally, and we cannot imagine the feelings and burden you must be carrying.

However, we must do more than have heavy hearts–we must take action. We must mobilize society as a whole to eliminate the racism and hate that is endemic in our communities. As partner agencies, we vow to join together and with others who stand strong against racism, prejudice, bias, or any other belief or behavior that diminishes the inherent worth, potential, and beauty of every human being. This is the foundation of our collective mission and the reason we exist. We believe every person has a unique purpose, deserves equal opportunity and respect, and has distinct greatness.

 

Sincerely,

James W. Coder, CEO |  New Directions Youth & Family Services, Inc. and CEO | New View Alliance

Carolyne DeFranco, CEO | Gateway Longview and President | New View Alliance