Our vision of a world where all children are nurtured to discover, cultivate, and apply their natural gifts is impossible to achieve unless we stand together against racial injustice. 

We stand strong with our Black employees, parents, children, families, and communities we serve. We’re mindful of the work there is to be done, and we will strive together to create a more just, inclusive, and equitable society.  June 2nd, 2020

During this season of gratitude, we’re given pause to consider this statement from six months ago. A long history of racial inequality and injustice in America seemed to culminate this summer with a feeling of enough is enough. It’s unfair and unfortunate that it took another murder of a Black man and another murder of a Black woman for our country to collectively get to where we are. It’s not lost on us that the six-month anniversary of George Floyd’s death coincides with Thanksgiving. Too many families will celebrate this season of giving with grief rather than gratitude. That is why we are committed to this change. Change can be a challenge, and we believe that transparency in our progress and our setbacks is crucial. 

Beech Acres Parenting Center, like many organizations, made a statement at the time, speaking out against racial injustice. But we wanted to do more, to do something. We did not want our statement to simply be a social media post, forgotten as soon as it was posted. We wanted to make a commitment to anti-racism that reflected the values of our organization. As a parenting center, we were saddened that every time this happens, there are children are being left without parents and moms and dads grieving for their children. 

To keep ourselves accountable to that commitment we wanted to share with you what we’ve done, what we’ve learned, and what we plan to do. 

We began by making a commitment to anti-racism. Our priority goal was to develop and execute an anti-racism strategy for those we serve, the system affecting them, and within Beech Acres itself. We’d already made strides in this area having put together a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) task force. This team was already working to address deficiencies in this area across the organization, but the events of this spring and summer provided clarity and focus around that agenda. 

With the full support of the Beech Acres board, we established the following organization-wide objectives and strategies.

  • Listen and Learn: Engage the voices of Black parents to increase understanding and co-create services and resources. 
  • Implement strategies for program enhancements: Strategies are designed to make a difference by building on existing practices, partnering with external resources, and/or co-creating new interventions with parents and stakeholders
  • Advocate to improve education, healthcare & child welfare systems: Analyze systems affecting families Beech Acres serves to identify opportunities for ling-term systems impact. 
  • Use communication vehicles as a catalyst for change: Leverage marketing communications to engage and recruit Black families and use platforms for anti-racism messaging.
  • Change from within: Continuously build DEI, Anti-Racism team and culture. 

After establishing this plan, we began the work of implementing this strategy. We’ve begun to listen and learn by engaging an outside research firm to invite parents to participate in a listening session to learn more about what we are doing well and more importantly where we need to improve. We began systematic reviews of our programs from top to bottom, engaging with our partners, and listening to our funders to determine how we could implement strategies for program enhancements. We refocused our efforts in schools (Beyond the Classroom, The Character Effect™), pediatric offices (Parent Connext™), and within the child welfare system (foster care and adoption, Kinship Connections, Parent Enrichment Program) to clearly advocate to improve education, healthcare & child welfare systems. We produced a series of blogs for parents to have critically important discussions about race with their children. We’ve also addressed racial disparity in mental health and other important topics on our website and social media to use or communication tools as a catalyst for change. Finally, we’ve looked internally to change from within by committing to an anti-racism strategy, keeping DEI as a focus in all we do, and encouraging open and honest dialogue among our staff on these important issues. 

The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were no different than previous atrocities that have occurred time and time again, but these came at a time of particular division in our country, a time when we are not seeing eye to eye, and a time when healing is needed the most. 

We understand there is so much work to be done, not only by us, but within the community, our country, and the world. Know this; we hear you, we are committed to this, and it is something we believe in as an organization.