Dear Marillac St. Vincent community:
We are anticipating the verdict in the high-profile trial of Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who stands accused of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, to be announced in the next couple days. The news of this shooting has become a flashpoint in Chicago, and has called national attention to a years-old divide between the city’s police force and community residents, sparking numerous protests along the way. As an organization we realize the topic of this trial has prompted much discussion, and the emotional impact of its verdict may spur more demonstrations and even violence in some neighborhoods throughout the Chicagoland area. While we do encourage freedom of expression and have extended this to all MSV staff members, we do not condone violence in any form.
To ensure the safety of our staff, the children entrusted in our care, and the clients we serve, our Leadership Team has developed a plan of action in case of unrest that includes extended operating hours if necessary, security presence in the evenings at both St. Vincent de Paul Center and Marillac Social Center, asking staff to serve, as needed, in roles outside of their regular duties, and using our gymnasiums on both campuses as a safe haven for the community.
For more than 100 years now, Marillac St. Vincent Family Services has been a beacon of hope for many, and we remain committed to the safety of everyone in the Marillac St. Vincent family. It takes community support and commitment to do the courageous work of nonviolence and peace building that Chicago has begun. All of us at MSV are part of that community, and as supporters of this great mission, you are also part of this effort. We will continue our work of building peace, and strengthening, empowering, and giving voice to those in need. Please join us in praying for peace in our city and an end to violence and injustice.
With gratitude for your partnership in our mission,
President & CEO
Marillac St. Vincent Family Services