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An Open Letter to Staff

Benhaven decries the murder of George Floyd. We are saddened, frustrated and angered that this is but one of many unacceptable and unjustified killings of black people as a result of police misconduct. Collective outrage is moving our communities and country to a point of collective action that will hopefully bring an end to these tragedies and the onset of meaningful change across our society.

Benhaven believes in social justice and has throughout its history. Our Board of Directors, administrators, and staff have advocated for the rights of individuals with autism for over fifty years. Our mission is to provide supports, services, and guidance to individuals with autism to participate safely and purposefully in community life and to have meaningful control over their lives. We can wish no less for our staff and families who because they are black may not feel safe in their communities, protected by law and those meant to enforce it, and who may not feel they have real control over the safety and sanctity of their own lives and those of their family members.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We cannot remain silent about these injustices and the negative impact they have on people in the Benhaven community, and throughout our country. Silence might be interpreted to mean we do not care or are not appalled by these mortal attacks on black American citizens. We want our community to know that we care and are outraged. We are sad and appalled. Our thoughts for peace, full acceptance, respect and safety go out to those so sadly affected, or afraid for themselves and their families.

Not staying quiet is insufficient. We will work to listen to those in our Benhaven community, whether served by us or working with us, to learn how we can be of more tangible help to further the end of racism. To once again quote Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Kathryn, the Senior Management Team and the Board of Directors

June 5, 2020

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