In late October 2020, Guardian Angel staff members representing all departments came together for a working session to develop a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. The following statement reflects the ideas generated in the session, as well as feedback gathered after a draft was disseminated to the entire staff. This agency-wide process generated a lively and candid discussion of how Guardian Angel’s values, history, and services to the community align with the vision of the BLM movement. Ultimately, any statement is only as meaningful as the actions that make it a reality. We recognize that more work must be done.
“Guardian Angel Settlement Association stands in solidarity with and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As the BLM movement strives for equity in our society, for generations our quality childcare and social service programs have made a positive impact by uplifting and empowering members of our community and paving the way towards a more equitable future for those who we serve. Our 160-year history of mission driven service to the St. Louis community has informed our values and shaped our goals. We proudly acknowledge that our mission, values, and goals align with the BLM movement and we are committed to do our part to ensure that racial equity becomes a reality. We condemn police brutality, institutional racism, white supremacy and all forms of oppression. We support the rights of all people who seek a more just and equitable world.
Social work is rooted in social justice and anti-oppression, and so is our mission. Our mission is to serve people by helping them to improve the quality of their life and achieve economic independence. Our mission is guided by the knowledge that education promotes equitable participation in the world and leads to economic uplift. Further, we understand the need for and the power of people telling their own stories. In honor of that truth, we provide our clients, families, and volunteers a space to tell their own stories in an accepting and non-judgmental space.
The foundation of our values is respect. We respect the community that we serve. We respect each other in our workplace. We respect the mission that has inspired us as an organization for 160 years. We are a family focused and community-oriented grassroots organization. Our commitment to caring for and making a difference in the lives of children by delivering early childhood education and providing food security are all reflections of our values. We also live our values through our work to promote independence and empowerment of those we serve. We are responsive and inclusive to the needs of both our internal and external communities. We value building relationships that meet the unique needs of each individual that we serve. We value empathy and counseling as tools for positive impact in our community. In addition, we value helping other grassroots organizations in order to achieve greater impact in our community. These values are parallel to the value of the BLM movement and the fight for racial justice.
We strive to be a village that collectively cares for one another. Within our work community we promote financial stability through compensation/benefits which reflect that commitment. We maintain an open-door policy so that everyone in our work community feels supported and heard.
Within the St. Louis community, we aim to serve as a resource for solutions, listen to and address the concerns of the community, promote retaining money and economic activity in our community, and build bridges and open lines of communication between individuals and organizations throughout the City. Our goal is to be a safe haven for our community.
Both internally and externally, our goal is to advocate for the respect of the humanity of all people. We embrace the representation of cultural differences and believe in the transformative power of love. Our goal is to use that power to heal our city.
We are well aware of the long history of segregation and racial inequity in St. Louis. Our small but mighty organization has and will continue to work tirelessly to eradicate these barriers through the services and resources that we provide. We are committed to continuing our work and call upon others to join us as we build a community in which justice and equity thrive and Black lives matter. “