Staff Musings: From the Desk of Greg Cole
Each month, a member of our staff will share a look into their programs and experiences working at Emmaus House. Our first entry for ‘Staff Musings’ comes from our Executive Director, Greg Cole.
“Emmaus House stands for justice and equity, rooted in faith and a deep respect for the dignity of every human being. We harness the power of community, education, hope, and love to dismantle poverty, racism, and other barriers to opportunity in the lives and communities we serve.”
What a powerful statement. Many of you will recognize in this new values statement echoes of the Episcopal baptismal covenant (“respecting the dignity of every human being”) as well as the work on dismantling racism taking place at the new Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing.
This values statement, along with the strategic plan in which it appears, serves as my roadmap for leadership at Emmaus House.
As we seek to help those who live in poverty, we cannot ignore the role that racism plays in perpetuating systems that lead to generational poverty. I have had the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to dig deeper - both personally and as a leader - into this issue. I attended a two-day workshop called Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work, sponsored by the Interaction Institute for Social Change. Also, I was part of an ongoing conversation sponsored by the Atlanta Civic Site of the Annie E. Casey Foundation called Changing the Odds: Ensuring Quality & Equity in Public Education. As the folks at the foundation like to say, “Let’s not ask children to beat the odds. Let’s change the odds.”
This work is as important now as it has ever been. We at Emmaus House share a deep commitment to ensuring that all people, regardless of race, receive equitable opportunities to thrive. Given the challenges of gentrification and the income disparities that are so prevalent in Atlanta, this is no easy task. Thank you for your support as we seek to live out our values statement to create a more equitable city for all people.