Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan, which recently released a powerful statement about the death of George Floyd and the ongoing struggle for racial equity.
LSS of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan provides a wide array of holistic services, including programming for children and families, people suffering from addiction, refugees, people with disabilities, and seniors. For generations, LSS has been addressing the states’ most complex challenges with the core values to act compassionately, serve humbly, and lead courageously.
LSS President and CEO Héctor Colón demonstrated that courageous leadership with a recent statement he shared with LSS employees, the board of directors, community members, and the media. In the statement, Colón shares his thoughts on George Floyd’s tragic death, and he begins by reading Floyd’s last words as he died at the hands of the police in Minneapolis. Colón says that his heart pains seeing the video and reports of Floyd’s death, as well as the larger story of racial and ethnic disparities that continue to exist in our justice system, healthcare system, and other systems in society.
Colón recognizes that his experience as a person of color differ from the experiences of George Floyd and others in the African American community, but he can identify with some of the racial and ethnic injustices. He relives some of his own experiences with racial injustice, including being needlessly stopped and aggressively searched by the police, having obscenities and racial slurs yelled and him, and being prohibited entry from establishments due to his race.
Colón is hopeful that the country can unite to address complex challenges in our society, and that some good can come from this tragic event. He calls on the viewer to look to systems and policies that foster the conditions in which senseless violence against people of color are allowed to occur, and to act courageously to change those systems. Colón quotes Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” He encourages us to peacefully seek justice, and to act compassionately in the fight for racial equality.
Thank you to Héctor Colón and all the staff at Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan who continue to act compassionately, serve humbly, lead courageously, and stand in support of the infinite worth of black lives.