Author: Kristyn Peck, LSSNCA CEO
As is necessary with organizations that are more than 100 years old, LSSNCA is transforming, which includes refreshing our mission, vision, and values to ensure they reflect our current purpose, understanding of the systemic roots of the conditions in which our clients find themselves, and the values that unite our diverse and talented team.
Two of the values that have been top of mind for our team are social justice and equity, which stand in contradiction to the vernacular often used to describe the populations we serve– “vulnerable” — and the work we and organizations like ours do — “charity.”
In our experience, there is nothing inherently vulnerable about those we serve. What we see are people of strong character, incredible resilience, and deep faith that gives them unrelenting hope. They are vulnerable to failed governments, flawed systems, and barriers to accessing opportunities. And the work that we do is not charity. It’s motivated not by sympathy or the desire to “save,” but rather the recognition that we could have just as easily been in the same shoes as those we serve. In fact, many of us have been. Our role is to accompany them on their path towards healing and well-being, to facilitate access to opportunities, and to work to change systems so they work for all.
LSSNCA was recognized with the Micah Award by Lutheran Services of America (LSA) at its 2022 Membership Meeting. LSA bestows this honor every year on a member organization that has led the way in addressing justice, mercy, and equity. We are humbled to have received this award amongst the 300 LSA member agencies who inspire us with the many ways they serve and impact their communities. What this award represents- leadership in addressing justice and equity- is what motivates us at LSSNCA and we promise to, with humility for what we don’t yet know and what we need to do better, do all we can to live up to it.
I’m proud of our outstanding team who has welcomed and resettled more than 4,000 Afghan Allies to the DMV in the last six months, which is eight times the number of people we served in our refugee programs in recent years, and required an incredible scaling up of staffing, systems, and resources. We wouldn’t have been able to do this work alone, and I’m so grateful for you– our strong network of government, nonprofit, congregational, and other community partners, volunteers, and donors. This award also belongs to you. Thank you for working with us side by side to respond to this crisis, and with compassion and empathy alongside those we serve in their paths of healing and resilience.