Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services has released its first Racial Equity Report. The report highlights the departments ongoing efforts to “promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through this work in order to be a partner in correcting systemic racism and inequities.”

“After the last year, we’ve learned more than ever that it is not enough to speak an opposition to racism and a commitment to equity. Black Lives Matter – but this is not just a value. This must be a call to action for all of us to use our privilege and our position to try to make the world a better place for everyone,” said Secretary Miller. “DHS has an incredibly broad reach that gives us the opportunity to impact people and these social determinants of health across their lifespan, and we are committed to not letting this opportunity slip away.”

The Racial Equity Report covers work in health equity, economic justice, early childhood education, child welfare, and juvenile justice. The department is looking to promote this work within the organization to broaden a collective understanding of topics like equity, racism, privilege, trauma, and intersectionality. The report provides an overview of the commonwealth’s work in this space and relevant data where available, opportunities for growth identified, ongoing work, and next steps to help bring this work to fruition. The report is meant to establish a starting point for DHS and its partners to guide efforts moving forward.

“My hope is that by releasing this report, we can begin a conversation that will improve our work on behalf of the people we serve and help encourage others within our systems to be a part of this journey. This report is our commitment to making DHS an actively anti-racist organization where we can start to do our part to reverse centuries of inequity that many still experience every day,” said Secretary Miller. “We will seek to be an active ally in this work. The more than 3 million people DHS serves, our nearly 16,000 employees, and the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a whole deserve this.”

You can read the full article covering the report here.

You can read the report in full here.

The ELCA social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture” states that…

“Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.

When we speak of racism as though it were a matter of personal attitudes only, we underestimate it. We have only begun to realize the complexity of the sin, which spreads like an infection through the entire social system. Racism infects and affects everyone, with an impact that varies according to race, ethnicity, or culture, and other factors such as gender or economic situation.”

The ELCA and all Lutherans are called to work toward a world of justice and peace. Examining how our institutions, both ecclesiastical and secular, embody this work is an important step in assessing how we can move toward that vision of God’s kingdom where there is equity and equality for all.

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