A special message from Leah Hébert Welles, Open Arms’ executive director

Our hearts are heavy at Open Arms. As an organization whose values include social responsibility, community and hope, we cannot stand silent when faced with injustice. We stand in solidarity with those mourning the loss of George Floyd. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and those grieving. As an organization dedicated to providing services to those most vulnerable in our community, we stand with those seeking justice for a victim no longer able to speak for himself.

Open Arms is also a member of the South Minneapolis community, and we are watching as the neighborhood we love and have operated in for more than 30 years is torn apart. The homes of our clients, volunteers and staff members are at risk, many of the businesses we frequent and support are shuttered or damaged. The community is divided, people are scared and the pain runs deep. We are desperately hoping for peace and justice, and we are determined to keep our doors open and serve the critically-ill clients who need us, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.

As an organization made up of over 7,500 diverse volunteers, over 50 staff members and thousands of clients living all over the Twin Cities, we recognize that none of these issues are simple – it will take all of us to make substantive changes to create a just and equitable society that values all of humanity and takes care of those who are most vulnerable.

To our clients, volunteers, supporters and Open Arms’ community: we are here and we will continue to be here, true to our mission and purpose. Over the last 34 years, we have built a community of kindness made up of tens of thousands of people who have come to South Minneapolis and helped make the world a better place through small acts of generosity and hope. We need your open hearts and arms now more than ever.

Sending you all love,
Leah Hébert Welles, on behalf of the staff and Board of Open Arms of Minnesota

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