Posted August 07, 2020 in News Items
Earlier this week several news outlets brought to light a picture of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan in blackface 30 years ago. Terry is a member of the Saint Luke's Foundation board, which is comprised of eighteen other community servants.
Dressing in blackface is wrong. It is demeaning. It is a reflection of the racism that runs deep in our community. It is undoubtedly inconsistent with the vision and mission of the Saint Luke’s Foundation. Our vision states that people thrive as a result of living free of racism and poverty and by experiencing equitable economic opportunities that enable them to lead healthy lives. At Saint Luke's we believe this individually and collectively and we work every day to achieve this vision.
While we cannot speak to the person Terry Allan was 30 years ago, we know who he is today, who he has been as a member of our board and as the Commissioner of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. His decisions and policies have been in favor of disadvantaged individuals and families, including black and brown people. He chaired the committee that selected and recommended to the board our current President and CEO, who is Black. Our board and staff are among the most diverse in America and have become more so since he joined the foundation. With those realities in mind, we accept Terry Allan’s apology and welcome his continued service.
We stand consistent with our values and support for people who are critically judged or denied opportunity based on decisions they made in the distant past. We encourage all to apply our stance to the countless individuals who must answer questions tied to acts they may have committed long ago in consideration for employment and other growth opportunities. People can and do change and should be given grace when the change has been clearly demonstrated.