In the spirit of Jesus and the traditions of justice embedded in the Gospel, Heart Love & Soul stands firmly for the elimination of racism and violence in our hearts, in our institutions, and in our relationships with others. The murder of George Floyd peeled back layers of injustice, inequality and violence that sadly continue to punctuate American life. It shined light on the unmistakable reality that access to the American Dream – that privilege of opportunity for social and economic stability – remains obstructed for so many, particularly minorities and people of color.
Here in Niagara Falls, we see racial inequality manifest in multiple ways. Blacks and African Americans, for example, make up approximately 22% of the population in Niagara Falls but comprise approximately 37% of all people in Niagara Falls living at or below the federal poverty line. Native Americans in Niagara Falls suffer the highest poverty rate (a staggering 54%) of any group in our City, with the share of people in poverty twice as high as its share in the general population. The disproportionate burden of poverty among minorities and people of color reflects the continuing legacy of systemic inequality in our society.
Heart Love & Soul will continue standing with members of our community in the struggle for justice and equality. We will continue to respect and affirm the inherent dignity of people of color who come to our doors. We will continue to provide services that address the scourge of poverty, draw attention to the fact that people of color suffer disproportionately, and advocate for institutional reforms that address systemic inequities. We commit to mindfulness around our own policies and practices, to ensure that our work contributes to the equality and diversity we seek in the world. We pray that our hearts will be moved and sustained to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., and all those who work tirelessly for justice and peace.