The Breathing Room Foundation mourns the lives lost to inequities in our community. We recognize the oppression the Black community has faced throughout our nation’s history, and we are inspired by the resilience we continue to witness in the search for an anti-racist society. At Breathing Room, we are committed to being an anti-racist organization and moving our community forward in this search for an anti-racist society. We also know that being anti-racist requires action more than words. To ensure we are fulfilling that commitment to our community and best serving our Breathing Room families, we are establishing the Diversity, Respect, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
It is our vision to ensure no family fights cancer alone. In working toward that vision, approximately half of the families we support are Black. In our work, we recognize that the Black community faces the highest diagnosis, shortest survival, and highest death rates of any racial group in the United States for most types of cancers. Their struggle with the disease is compounded by systemic disparities related to access to quality care, affordability of care, transportation, and food security.
The Breathing Room Foundation has always strived to be a vital resource for everyone in our community battling cancer. We rely on our social workers to be our eyes and ears in the community so that we can adapt and continue to provide individualized support based on what each family needs. But we recognize that to be a successful and effective community foundation, we must listen and better respond to all the communities we serve.
It is our hope that the creation of the Diversity, Respect, Equity, and Inclusion Committee will accomplish three things:
- Engage more individuals from the Black community in the Breathing Room mission, including increased Black representation on our Board and Committees. Their experience and wisdom will ensure our vision becomes reality.
- Hear directly from community leaders about the unique struggles facing the Black community and all People of Color during their cancer journey.
- Identify ways the Breathing Room can build awareness in the community, engage diverse volunteers, and use our mission to strengthen community relationships.
We know that both the Black families we support and the Black community members who volunteer their time and money to support our mission deserve more than kind words and empty promises. As such, we will continue to look inward and reflect on how we, as an organization, can stand with the Black community and work toward change so we can truly all be equal.