President & CEO Mark Stutrud Reflects on the Pain of Racism, Disparity, and Inequity, and LSSI’s Role in Promoting Human Dignity

The Dignity of the Whole Person

June 5, 2020

Dear Friends:

The past few weeks have been filled with pain, anger, and hurt. The pain of violence that resulted in George Floyd's death and centuries of systemic racism, inequities, injustice, and violence. When we speak with our friends, colleagues, and clients, we know so many who have experienced this firsthand in their lives.

These recent pivotal events gave me pause for reflection, both personally and with regards to the work we carry out through LSSI. My first thought is of our organization's Strategic Vision that was introduced earlier this year…"Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) exists to serve the Whole Person. We strive to listen with empathy and compassion. We promote the dignity of the person, value the diversity of human life, and help people realize their full potential."

There is a distance between our vision and the reality our communities experience. Our vision must become our resolve—a resolve that is realized in our daily service, our work.

A Whole Person view requires hearing and understanding the pain of racism, disparity, and inequity. If we truly desire to promote the dignity of all people and value the diversity of human life, it is our charge to help by building community in ways that strengthen the ecosystem that surrounds people and connects them to the resources that build and sustain life. We are reminded that often this change begins in our own hearts and minds, and as an organization, we are committed to continuing to listen, learn, and understand.

Part of my reflection includes gratitude, as I am reminded of the integral role your support plays in enabling LSSI to carry out its vision to serve the Whole Person and promote human dignity.

As a Christian, faith-based organization, we strive toward our Mission each day—"Responding to the Gospel, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois brings healing, justice, and wholeness to people and communities." This is to be Christ.

In Faith,
Mark A. Stutrud
President and Chief Executive Officer