June may be the start of summer, but at Urban Resource Institute (URI), this month holds a much deeper meaning. We celebrate Pride Month and Juneteenth, known as Black Independence Day or Emancipation Day. Both uplift traditionally marginalized populations – LGBTQIA+ and the Black community – which in these tumultuous times face renewed discrimination and attack.
Both Juneteenth and Pride Month echo URI’s mission and legacy. We have a rich 43-year heritage within the Black community, and our open access model of care ensures our doors are always open to everyone regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The same commitment holds true in the diversity of our staff. We do not just preach diversity, equity, and inclusion. We proudly live it with leadership and staff largely Black and brown, reflecting the communities we serve.
This commitment has not gone unnoticed. Our Deputy CEO, Dr. Carla Smith, will be receiving two awards recognizing her as a leader in the LGBTQIA+ community as a 2023 Schneps Media LGBTQIA Power List honoree, and as a Crain’s New York Notable LGBTQIA+ Leader. Numerous members of our leadership have also been honored for influence and impact in the Black community.
At URI we believe in the right of all people to be respected, valued, and safe; and we are unwavering in our commitment to deliver trauma-informed care that respects the intersecting factors of everyone’s identity. In these troubled and troubling times, it is more important than ever to stand firm in our vision of a world where all individuals and communities are safe, stable and thriving.
As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Nathaniel M. Fields
Urban Resource Institute