Dear JCCA Colleagues,

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month 2021, when we focus on and celebrate the infinite accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans past and present. Reflecting and learning from this history propels us forward, inspiring us to honor and fulfill the legacy of those whose achievements have too long been minimized, co-opted, and/or ignored by the dominant culture.

It is in this spirit that I want to acknowledge your commitment to advancing equity and cultural change at JCCA over the last year. Becoming a truly anti-racist organization is a continuous, difficult process, and I am proud of the work we have done at every level of JCCA to engage in this struggle together. We will also welcome Coston Consultants to JCCA this month. Their skilled team will support JCCA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) actions in collaboration with our Executive Team, Senior Leadership Team, Race Equity Committee, and Board of Trustees.

Our success is dependent on our ability to change. JCCA has grown to meet client needs in a city, state, and nation that developed foundational institutions structured, in some cases quite intentionally, to subjugate Black people. As an organization that is part of the child welfare system, an institution fraught with bias against the integrity of Black families, we at JCCA have a high obligation to meaningfully transform our culture and practice. That is an organizational commitment. We need everyone to focus collectively on this undertaking. I am grateful for your persistence and patience as we progress, meeting each challenge together in our mission to repair the world, child by child.

Ronald E. Richter