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(Addressing LifeLinks/CLASS employees)
“I’m not even sure where to begin in my message to you. Like many of you, I was disgusted and horrified by the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I watched on my tv as scenes played out across Boston and throughout the nation over the past few nights that devolved into something that was heart-wrenching and anxiety-provoking. A desperate unhappiness for the country permeates my heart and thoughts.
I realize that today we’re all hurting deeply. We are outraged and heartbroken. As a community, we can stand together. We can help each other. We can respect one another. And, most importantly, we can condemn hate and discrimination in all forms.
There are some immutable realities that we experience every day here at LifeLinks CLASS that – for me – help to equalize my emotions and ground me. First, we are one organization focused on one mission of ensuring the best life possible for each of the individuals we support to be happy and safe. Second, there are many races, religions, and cultures represented in our workforce and the people and families who we support; we are all unique and we actively respect those differences. Third, all are welcomed, and all are supported.
Think about that last statement. Inclusion is a core value of our organization. And it’s not just something I put in the annual report; it means that we collectively aspire to give those individuals we support the opportunity to achieve their full potential in an environment free from discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or political ideology.
I know many of you right now feel overwhelmed, anxious, powerless, lonely, frustrated, and angry. We cannot separate the realities of the world from our work. We need to be open and honest with ourselves, and with each other, that there are systemic and ideologic divides right now in our country that are deep and wide. But remember that every day at LifeLinks CLASS we work in ways both small and wide to bridge those divides.
It’s a privilege to do what we do, and I have never been prouder of all of you or more humbled by the example of love and devotion that I have seen expressed during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. You have supported our individuals above all else, including your own families. You have stood shoulder to shoulder carrying a very heavy burden. You are demonstrating compassion to individuals who are at home, struggling to understand the restrictions of a lockdown.
At LifeLinks CLASS we have always valued the preservation of the dignity of life. I pledge to never waver in that commitment.
Jean M. Phelps, CEO ”