— Pastor Michael Giroux
The work of inclusive racial diversity does not belong to a department or position, it is the
responsibility of every believer. Citizen Heights is and has always been a church that celebrates
diversity, hates injustice and welcomes all of God’s children.
We wholeheartedly condemn the sin of racism, both implicit and explicit – the very nature of racism is an affront to the Gospel, and there is zero tolerance for it in our Church or culture. As a Church that refuses to neglect its responsibility to the mandate of the gospel, we are committed to achieving racial and social equity by contributing to a more just society in which our church community are given opportunities to realize their full potential.
Our commitment to advancing racial justice requires intentionality and accountability. We must lean into the conversations that deepen our understanding about racism and how it impacts our Church and our community.
Our program of action as of March 2021 is described below. Our Board will routinely review these action items to assess our progress against our goals and to make the changes we believe will accelerate our success.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world … If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
OUR PRELIMINARY OBJECTIVES
OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, WE ARE WORKING STRATEGICALLY AND COLLABORATIVELY TO BUILD OUT EACH COMMITMENT
Build a racial equity lens into our church’s strategic planning, policy and governance process. Review human resource policies and procedures with a focus on improving training of all staff, and recruitment and retention of diverse staff.
Provide Racial Equity Training for all staff, Engage external experts and consultants to help develop ongoing awareness, education and training which will be rolled out across various departments and campuses on an ongoing basis as needed. Address issues or concerns and provide mechanisms to better support the mental and physical health and well-being (pastoral care training and dedicated email established)
Train our leadership team to better care for and develop leadership pathways for people of color. Provide pathways for racially diverse individuals to receive intentional pastoral care that considers cultural upbringing. We aim to provide opportunities that promote healing and restoration to people experiencing collective racial trauma.
— Pastor Michael Giroux
We recognize that our objectives require ongoing learning, reflection and action and there’s still more work to be done. As such, this statement will be amended as we gain new understandings. We need to work together to collaboratively address issues and continue to improve.
— Pastor Michael Giroux
Gaïna Dávila is a U.S. Diplomat, the Co-Founder of Dávila Kafe Coffee Company, and an author. She has a background in U.S. foreign policy and communications. She's previously worked in Haiti, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Barbados, West Africa, and the Eastern Caribbean. Gaïna speaks Haitian Kreyol, French, and Spanish. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, and telling stories that uplift the human spirit.
Daryl S. Dudley 1 is a leading voice for the rights of girls and women to be able to move about in a world without fear of violence. He is the founder of the nonprofit organization She's My Daughter, a movement of concerned men that explores comprehensive strategies aimed at creating safe communities for women and empowering survivors of violence to heal from their past harms.
Demetria Johnson has over 20 years of experience as a hands-on expert in the field of Diversity & Inclusion and Talent Strategy. She counsels clients on innovative methods to maximize their workplace environment through training in talent management, integration, cultural awareness, mindful listening and inclusion.
Danielle is passionate to see people’s lives changed and intensely curious about how cells in our bodies function. This led Danielle to pursue a career as a neurobiologist to see her scientific research translated into new medicines to treated debilitating diseases, and her to lead Citizen Groups to see people connected to God’s heart and community. Danielle is also a wife, mother and avid lover of the outdoors.
Dr. David Wagar is a Board Certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a partner at Capital Women’s Care, the largest OB/GYN practice in the United States. International service is a passion for Dr Wagar. Additionally, Dr. David Wagar serves as consultant for SMILE, a division of the African American Health Program at Montgomery County, whose goal is to reduce disparity for health outcomes in pregnancy and newborns.
Martina Mills Smith is an attorney currently serving as a Supervisory Senior Counsel and Acting Veterans Law Judge. She is a subject-matter expert in the field of veterans law. Earlier in her career, Ms. Smith served as Associate Director of Marketing for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra during its time of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. She then worked as an instructor at Purdue University and received the Earl Harlan Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Nakeesha “Keesha” Ceran is motivated by her passion for social justice to positively impact and influence her circles, both domestically and globally. She strives to present a mindset that focuses on equality and equity and is actively involved in community development, particularly as it relates to education policy, Haitian advocacy, and women’s interests in politics and racial reconciliation at the intersection of faith. Keesha currently serves as the Associate Director of a local nonprofit at the intersection of k-12
Jonathan Lahey is a best selling author, marketing expert, and an award-winning realtor in the DC metro area. He's been the featured speaker at national real estate conferences, has been interviewed on many coaching calls, and has appeared on marketing panels alongside other top real estate producers in North America. Jonathan is a supporter of Nourish Now. For every house his real estate team sells this year, they are donating part of our income to Nourish Now. They are on a mission to love, care, and serve our community, by providing 40,000 meals to those who are hungry.
Isaac Taylor has served as an officer in the United States military for the past 19 years. His most recent assignment was in the Pentagon. He has also served in the Republic of Korea, Japan, Philippines, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Isaac considers every moment he gets to spend with his beautiful wife and their two boys a gift from God. In his free time, he enjoys learning about other cultures and trying their food. His love of food has led to his belief that most disagreements can be solved at the table over a good meal.
— Pastor Michael Giroux