March 15, 2022
As a nonprofit whose work is rooted in the values of compassion, respect, and accountability, and whose mission is dedicated to supporting individuals as they seek to improve their lives, The Night Ministry is committed to racial equity in its services, its organizational structure, and its policies and procedures. Given that the majority of those whom The Night Ministry serves and the majority of our staff are people of color, it is imperative that we center racial equity in our day-to-day operations as well as in our strategic planning. We believe the best way to achieve racial equity across our programs and operations is for The Night Ministry to become an anti-racist organization.
The Night Ministry’s mission is to provide human connection, housing support, and health care to those who are unhoused or experiencing poverty. The conditions of homelessness and poverty persist because people of color do not have equal access to housing and are denied equal opportunities for economic advancement. In Chicago, this means that, despite making up about one-third of the total population, Black people make up 73% of Chicagoans who are experiencing homelessness. Nearly a third of Black Chicago residents live in poverty, compared to less than 10% of the city’s white population. Chicago residents who identify as Hispanic or Latino are also disproportionally impacted by homelessness and poverty. To effectively carry out our mission while contributing to the creation of a more equitable Chicago, The Night Ministry must ensure that its internal structure mirrors the society in which we would like to live.
We believe the most appropriate way to accomplish this is, as stated above, for The Night Ministry to commit to anti-racism. Becoming an anti-racist organization is a process that requires action and deliberate change across the agency. It means identifying and dismantling institutional racism that exists within our organization. It involves empowering staff, clients, and our partners with the tools and the support to disrupt white supremacy within the confines of the agency and within the spheres in which we operate. It requires us to collectively assess where we are as an organization and where we want to be while formulating and taking the necessary steps to get there.
Our Racial Equity Task Force, which includes staff from across the agency and members of our Board of Directors, has been instrumental in us making these assessments and identifying resources needed for our transformation. They will continue to be a driving force in this process, but we call upon all members of our community, from staff, volunteers, and supporters to our clients, to engage with us on our commitment to anti-racism. We ask that you participate in the ways you feel are most appropriate, including holding us accountable to our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization.
Paul W. Hamann, President & CEO
Kiantae A. Bowles, Chair of the Board of Directors