To our clients, families, team members, and community,
During this tragic time in our country I want to express my heartfelt concern for each of you.
What happened to George Floyd last week was horrible. It cannot be ignored, downplayed or dismissed in any way. Nor can the other examples of inequality we have seen applied to people of color. I am outraged at the loss of life and the unequal treatment of the African American community. It stirs in all of us shock, grief, disbelief and anger. While each of us deals with those feelings in different ways, they unite us. Youth Home wants you to know that we stand with you. We hurt with you. We feel anger with you.
At the same time all of us need to realize that coming out of the last few weeks, our African American communities in particular are hurting deeply. Members of our own local community are hurting deeply. Youth Home stands for inclusion, love, acceptance and support. If we do not love our neighbors, all of our neighbors, how do we love anyone?
I became a teenager in the 60’s and developed a fierce passion against racism as I saw it ravage our country. I could not believe man’s inhumanity to man that I witnessed. Over the last 5 decades I’ve naively thought our country was making good progress in this arena. And we have in some ways. But to be honest, today I feel like I’m right back there 50 years ago and perhaps we’ve barely moved the needle in addressing racism. In addition to all the feelings I’ve mentioned, I feel foolish. And I feel the need to apologize for not being more attentive and aware across the course of my life.
Today I am recommitting for us to do more. I’m not sure what that is yet. I may ask for your help. I do know that we have to have a conversation. And by conversation, I don’t necessarily mean a back and forth or words and reasons. It may just mean sitting together and listening. Sitting together in silence. We have to feel the discomfort and hurt together, so that we can lessen the burden and hope that someday we can start to fix what is systematically broken in our country. On a smaller scale, it’s why we are all here at Youth Home. We want everyone here to feel heard and valued, not just as clients, not just as team members, but as people.
I hope these words don’t ring hollow or feel self-indulgent, but the risk of staying silent is greater than the risk of misconstrued words. Just know that we see you. We hear you. We feel with you as best we can. And you matter.
David J. Napier
Chief Executive Officer
Youth Home, Inc./Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas