Dear JCCA Colleagues:

Many of you know that my daughter has two dads, so it is significant for me that Father’s Day falls in the middle of Pride Month. I am proud of all you do throughout the year to support our clients and colleagues who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or gender non-conforming. I am also proud of your work with the father figures among us so that we may expand the meaningful relationships our kids yearn for and need to thrive. Thank you for respecting, celebrating, and elevating the infinite ways we can love and care for each other.

Since I arrived at JCCA, I have spent a lot of time thinking about resilience and intergenerational trauma as framed by my own father’s experience. As I have shared before, he fled the Nazis as a child, and the story of his separation from—and eventual reunion with—his mother has influenced my work in child welfare in ways I probably still haven’t figured out. These themes are particularly poignant right now, given the increasingly upsetting news we are hearing about family separations at our border.

I would not be here today if my father had not been able to escape German occupation, come to New York City, and eventually live to embody the American Dream. I would not have a family of my own without the historic achievements made in the struggle for LGBTQ rights during my lifetime. As we celebrate and reflect during this month, let us also not lose sight of the fact that love and liberation are still out of reach for many around the world.

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Pride Month to you and to all the clients, colleagues, friends, and neighbors who show us every day what it means to be loved and valued, regardless of genetic relationships or gender identification.

Ronald E. Richter