Operation Dignity shares our community’s outrage over continued racial injustice in America, reflected in the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others before them.
Systemic racism is real. Black lives matter. The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color, including African-Americans, lays bare the deep inequities of our health, education and economic systems.
We are working to listen to the needs of our community, to learn from people with lived experience, and to challenge our own blind spots.
As an employer and service provider, Operation Dignity commits to do our part to address economic and housing injustice. Within our organization and publicly, we are reasserting our commitments to diversity, pay equity and inclusion among our board, executive leadership and our entire workforce. As members of various partnerships in Alameda County, including the Cities of Oakland, Alameda and Emeryville, we partner with their public agencies to ensure the safety and health of our veteran and homeless clients. We work to create opportunities that advance economic equality, specifically by helping homeless veterans and other unhoused individuals secure permanent, affordable housing and build their incomes, and to gain access to critical medical and mental health services.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have partnered with local food pantries, cash relief programs, social service organizations and many other nonprofits. But no amount of philanthropy can make up for the divisions in American society that the pandemic has exposed and deepened.
To our fellow citizens who are giving voice to their frustration, fears and anger on the city streets: We see you. We hear you. We want to work with you towards racial equality and a society where everyone feels, and is, safe. We have been deeply moved and inspired by the millions of voices, in this country and across the world, that are courageously speaking out for justice and change.
While this is a time of loss and tragic injustice, it is also a time for opportunity and hope. The current outcry for social and economic justice calls on us for something different from the old “normal.” Goals deemed unachievable just a few months ago are now being viewed through a different lens as changes that are not only necessary, but urgent. Alameda County prides itself on being an open and inclusive community, attracting talent from everywhere to build lives, careers and businesses. But our institutions have not lived up to that standard, and have for too long denied access to education, affordable housing, jobs, and services based on race. In our post-pandemic world, that must change.
Our team is committed to being a part of that change. While our staff is deeply troubled, and even fearful in the midst of the pandemic and social unrest, we are determined more than ever to come together, support each other, and advocate for the individuals and communities we serve.
Marguerite Bachand, Executive Director