VOA Alaska’s work centers around the vision of creating a community that supports the hope, health, and healing of every Alaskan youth and their family. We strive to eliminate suffering for youth, and create opportunities to reach a life full of potential. This vision can never be reached while systemic oppression continues.
Racism is a public health crisis. We stand together with our Black brothers and sisters, the communities, organizations, and the nation in condemning the murder of George Floyd. As an organization with a long history of supporting marginalized Alaskans, we believe it is incumbent upon us all to acknowledge that Mr. Floyd’s death is only the most recent example of the deeply rooted inequities and injustices that exist in our country. These injustices directly affect people of color each and every day. We see the tragic impact of these disparities first-hand in those we serve. As a society, we must do better.
Alaska itself has a long history of historical and intergenerational trauma. In our work with youth and families each day, we see the immediate and lasting impact that systemic racism has on individual lives. Mental health, substance mis-use, homelessness, fragile home environments, and many of the other areas we address in our work are strongly rooted in social inequity that has spanned many generations. Like many Americans, we feel despair and outrage at the lack of progress for racial justice in our country that leads to these conditions. But, we also feel hope.
We feel hope because we see Americans across the nation expressing their outrage. We see people willing to engage in difficult conversations in their homes and workplaces and on social media. And we feel hopeful as we see organizations and leaders respond to this crisis by recommitting to their values while at the same time asking, “How can we do better?”
As an organization, VOA is taking this historic moment as an opportunity reflect on our work. That means:
- We will continue to seek guidance and wisdom to address systemic issues, practices, and barriers that divide and separate us as a people.
- We will look at our own bias and acknowledge how our biases may show up in our work.
- We will seek the courage to speak up and speak out as we take on the eradication of violence and racism.
VOA continues to be committed to our team, our clients and our community. We stand firmly with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the fight against racism and for social justice. For equity and to undo oppression. We will continue to stand by our commitment to help the most vulnerable in our community.
President & CEO