A letter to our Neighbors

Dear Stewart Center Family,

For over 100 years the Stewart Center has served children and families in Atlanta.  When our neighbors hurt, we hurt.  Our hearts break to see our neighbors, members of our staff and board of directors experience the racial, social, and economic injustice that plagues people of color in America. 

Over the years, black people have served as directors of the organization and members of the board. They have, and continue to, volunteer countless hours, serve as outstanding staff members, and give financially.  For sure, the Center has made mistakes over the past century and will likely make more, but the people of color connected with the Stewart Center are not our clients or our customers or the object of our charity – they are us, THEY ARE THE STEWART CENTER.

Saying “All Lives Matter” at a time like this distorts the truth of our current reality.  The truth is that our education, economic, employment, housing, and criminal justice systems devalue the lives of black people.  The beautiful children of the Stewart Center and their loving families do not have the same opportunities for success as their white counterparts. 

The Stewart Center cannot right all social wrongs or ensure that our students never face injustice, but we can love each other unconditionally.  We can stand united in the face of relentless racism, we can provide comfort in times of tragedy, and we can someday, with God’s grace, be members of one humanity. 

In a newsletter we sent out last year we declared that “We rise and fall with our neighbors as they build dreams and endure setbacks.” Although social change may eventually come, the murder of George Floyd is a tremendous injustice and a devastating setback for our community.  To our neighbors in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of south Atlanta and to all those that love peace and justice – though we may now be “setback” we shall surely rise together.

Sincerely,

Clayton