Did you know that three years before the 13th Amendment was ratified officially abolishing slavery in the Unites States, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862? That date became an official public holiday in the District of Columbia in 2005, celebrating the end of slavery within the District. To learn more about Emancipation Day, click here.

On this significant anniversary, we at St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County acknowledge the racial and ethnic disparities that still exist in our society and culture. We recognize that it will take a conscious and ongoing effort on all of our parts to mitigate the heritage of racism in this country and in our own communities.

As a longtime affordable-housing developer and property manager, SVdP has an unwavering commitment to treating all people equitably in adherence with Fair Housing practices. And as Lane County’s largest nonprofit human-services agency, we are also devoted to building a social safety net available to all of our diverse neighbors in need — without discrimination in regard to race or any of the other social and demographic factors that make every person wonderfully unique.

We continually strive to address and eliminate inequities in our service delivery through education and training of staff and volunteers across our array of programs, properties, and workplaces. We are also focused on building a better future upon a foundation of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We want doors of opportunity to swing wide for all.

So, on this meaningful date, we hope you’ll join us in lifting up love and respect for all people — that’s the first of our Core Values here at SVdP — and celebrating one very important historical step toward equal rights and equitable opportunities for all in this country.

Thank you!

– Terry McDonald, SVdP Executive Director