Our Message Against Systemic Racism and its Impact on Men We Serve
People from all walks of life and across the world are standing up against systemic racism and social inequity. On May 31, CFH’s Executive Director, David Bowling, sent a message to all CFH staff written from his heart. We wanted to share an excerpt from that May 31 communication because we simply couldn’t find better words to reflect the hurt and sadness.
Over the past 27 years CFH has been working in partnership with the men and our community, in large part, to fight against the impact of institutional racism. We are committed to doing more to make CFH and our community a more equitable, and safe place for Black staff members, and the Black men we serve. To that end, we will strive to listen with an open heart and seek to understand. We will use our voices to deepen our community’s understanding of how systemic racism is at the heart of homelessness in our country. And we will use our influence and privilege to change systems and policies that further systemic racism. We pledge to stand up and speak up for those who are negatively impacted by systems of inequity and oppression in our community. We ask all our supporters to join us in this crucial work.
As I sit here, I feel deep sadness. Just in the last couple weeks we have seen black men be murdered in the streets, just for being black. We have seen white people break rules and then use their privilege to threaten men of color because they can. Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd lost their lives in this country because the system has been created to keep white people in power and black people controlled and disadvantaged. People of color are treated as expendable. Christian Cooper asked a white lady to follow the rules, and she used her privilege to try and “put him in his place.” Christian Cooper had to fear for his life because he knew that, in general, the police are going to be there for a white lady and automatically see a black man as a threat. These men lost their lives, or feared losing their lives, because the system of white supremacy reigns supreme in the United States. We live in a country with deep inequality, discrimination, and racial bias.
As tensions rise all around the country, I think of the amazing men and women of color who work at CFH, and wonder what you are feeling, and I feel pain for us all. I think often of the men we serve, who are disproportionally men of color because the social and economic systems have been stacked against them. Systemic racism is at the heart of homelessness in our country. The work we are doing is, in large part, fighting against the impact of institutional racism.
I can only imagine what you are each going through during this time. I am also deeply aware of the privilege I hold as a white male in this country. I am aware that it often takes events like several deaths of people of color and protests for us white people to connect to the racism and inequality that people of color have been living with day in and day out for over 400 years. I feel sad, angry, overwhelmed, scared, and desperate for something new.
I want our staff of color to know that you are seen, that you are deeply cared for, and that I want you to feel supported and understood for who you are and how this system of inequality impacts you. I want our men of color to know that they are seen and deeply cared for, and that we want to understand how this system of white supremacy impacts them. I want us to work together to make CFH a more equitable, safer place for staff of color, and for men of color. I see amazing leaders in CFH who can help us get there. I want to be one of those leaders for our community.
I know that I have lots to learn. It is not your responsibility to teach me, but know that I am open to being told when I am missing something, getting it wrong, and needing to educate myself. I am doing work to get there, but I welcome any wisdom you care to share. I feel deeply privileged to be working with such amazing people who come to work every day to provide respect, dignity, and hope to men who have been marginalized in our community.
Bellevue | December 19, 2018
Preferred site for Bellevue permanent men’s homeless shelter announced
The search for a site to build a permanent shelter in Bellevue for homeless men took a significant step Wednesday, as Bellevue-based Congregations for the Homeless (CFH) announced it is pursuing part of a surplus property owned by King County located at 13620 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue in one of the land use districts approved for shelters.
Media links to date:
Articles relating to Phase One upgrading of current shelter:
- Congregations for the Homeless raise more than $600,000 for shelter improvements June 30, 2019
- Churches, nonprofits successfully fight homelessness on the Eastside May 19, 2019
- 425Business Magazine: A Shelter in the Time of Storm April 18, 2019
- KING 5 New Day NW: Interview with Kevin Wallace and David Bowling April 8, 2019
- CFH Website updated with Pop-up: https://www.cfhomeless.org/bellevue-homeless-shelter/ April 5,2019
- OMNY.FM Radio Show: Kevin Wallace is helping Congregations for the Homeless April 1, 2019
- My Northwest: Eastside Congregations for the Homeless gets boost from developer March 28, 2019
- Kevin Wallace presents before Bellevue Rotary and shares news of T-Mobile March 28, 2019
- Bellevue Patch: Discussions Underway with Council on Bellevue Year-Round Men’s Shelter March 19, 2019
- PSBJ: Bellevue Shelter Needs Sprinklers February 22, 2019
CFH Permanent Shelter Announcements (December/January 2019)
- Seattle Times: Bellevue’s permanent shelter for homeless men has proposed site after years of debate
- KIRO TV: Permanent homeless shelter for men may be built in Bellevue
- KING TV: Possible site for Bellevue men’s homeless shelter announced
- Bellevue Patch: Eastgate Parcel Picked For Bellevue Men’s Shelter
- Bellevue Reporter: http://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/congregations-for-the-homeless-announce-permanent-shelter-location/
Related articles (January-May, 2019)