These are extraordinary times for our city and our country, and I write this message with a heavy but hopeful heart. While we continue to manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, horrific acts of overt racism and violence have shaken our nation to the core. These actions build upon the tensions caused by the inequities in our society that have become even more evident in the months since COVID-19 touched every aspect of our lives, especially for vulnerable populations.
Urban Resource Institute unequivocally stands for individual and collective social justice, equity, and inclusivity. From its founding in 1980, URI has been an anti-violence organization fundamentally committed to the elimination of oppression. We have worked tirelessly to enable our clients to escape abuse and to live full, sustainable lives. The forces that oppress our clients are no less structural than they are personal. At its core, URI’s work is fundamentally rooted in the elimination of oppression; we see and will fight the systemic racism that for centuries has burdened people of color in our communities.
Our nation is suffering grief and trauma that echoes the experience of the clients we serve – people and families who have faced domestic violence and homelessness. We at URI know that trauma impacts the victim and the vicarious victims – those who see or experience the event second hand. And we know that includes our dedicated employees, who must add the pain of recent events to the burden of their work with clients who every day bring to stories of violence, homelessness, and despair, which the URI team helps turn into stories of triumph and hope.
URI is a human service organization, but we are also advocates – advocates for our mission, our clients and our employees. URI is working with a multitude of organizations to engage with elected officials and others to address the root causes of the recent violence and to drive permanent, positive change. We also know that our staff is the heart of our organization, and we have instituted outreach and reinforced a portfolio of services to help our employees manage through these very challenging times.
These are unprecedented times, and as we reach what we hope will be an inflection point in history, I am proud to be in this together with the staff of URI. We will continue to do what we do best — empowering survivors of violence and vulnerable populations – and together we will get through it, help build a new way forward, and thrive.
Nathaniel M. Fields
President & CEO
Urban Resource Institute