Message from Board Chair Janet Lawson & CEO Ann Kalass: In these troubling times, we lean on our Starfish core values of compassion and respect. And we look to our Starfish community for guidance as our hearts cry out for justice.
Starfish Family Services stands resolute in our mission of strengthening families to create brighter futures for children.
Our beloved founder Ouida Cash built the foundation for an inclusive and humble Starfish community. Ouida believed that staff should walk hand in hand, alongside Starfish families, recognizing we can learn as much from our families as they can learn from us.
Never before has it been so important to listen and learn. To feel each other’s hearts. To contribute to healing and creating a community and country where our Black colleagues, friends, and families can thrive without fear and prejudice due to the color of their skin.
Our hearts ache for the continued acts of hatred, murder, and violence against the Black community. Our hearts ache for the disproportionate devastation COVID-19 has brought to Michigan’s communities of color.
More than that, we are called to speak out today on behalf of Starfish staff, children, and our neighbors and acknowledge that families live in the context of systems, policies, and a culture that often perpetuate hatred, racism, and inequitable distributions of power and resources.
From the earliest days of our organization, Starfish has sought to bring compassion and effective practice to our work supporting and partnering with the families of Wayne County as they seek the best developmental, educational, and health outcomes possible for their children.
While our services have evolved and our geographic footprint has expanded over the decades, one thing remains—systemic racism and its negative impact on our Black community including disparities in health, education, and housing. This is not acceptable for the well-being of children, families, or communities.
As we look to the future,
- We commit to giving voice to the issue of systemic racism.
- We commit to addressing the roots of inequity and to moving beyond our programs and services to help create sustainable systems and policies that positively impact the context in which our families live.
- We commit to lift up the voices and needs of our Black colleagues, friends, families, and community.
By doing so, we contribute to creating a just society in which opportunities for children, their families, and their communities are not determined by the color of their skin.
In these troubling times, we lean on our Starfish core values of compassion and respect. And we look to our Starfish community for guidance as our hearts cry out for justice.