The following letter was sent to our community following Memorial Day weekend 2020:
As I reflect on the current state of our country, on the pain so many of us are feeling, and on the reality that it is not safe to simply breathe and exist as a Black person in America, a quote from the President of Paul Quinn College, Michael Sorrell, keeps replaying in my mind.
“If we really cared about equity, we would have done something about it already.”
To our Black colleagues: We hope you can find space for yourselves today and in the days ahead. You have spent every day of your life fighting against racism and you deserve to feel safe, secure, and recognized for your humanity. We stand beside you with our full heads and our open hearts.
To our white colleagues: It’s not enough for us to talk about race—it’s time to mobilize and activate in complete support of our Black and Brown neighbors and friends—those we know and those we have yet to meet. And it’s beyond time to get uncomfortable. We must be bold in calling out racism in every place we see it—especially among our own friends and family. We must truly value people over profits and prioritize anti-racist action over complicit silence. If we continue to ignore racism and white supremacy by not addressing the racists in our lives, within our organizations, and within our communities, we are not anti-racist but instead enablers of the systemic racism that brought us to this time.
The narrative of our nation is dangerous and it is deadly. But our silence is also fatal.
All lives will not matter until Black Lives Matter. For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the millions of other Black people unjustifiably murdered as a result of our racist systems, we must do better in our advocacy and our allyship. In reference to Sorrell’s quote, the time is now to do something about it.
We can’t let this be another moment when our country passively witnesses racism without taking bold actions toward change.
If you don’t know where to start, consider joining our team in one or more of the following actions:
- Listen to Philip Atiba Goff’s TED Talk and then donate to his organization, Center for Policing Equity
- Find a local community or civic group working toward racial justice and show up. Can’t find a local group? Try Showing Up For Racial Justice.
- Do more than watch the news of riots. Listen to the protesters. Understand their rage and support their work.
- Text Demands to 55156 to sign up for alerts from Color of Change.
- If you’re a parent, expand your reading lists and engage in critical conversations with your kids about race. Need a place to start? Join our summer reading club for raising racially conscious kids.
In last week’s virtual community conversation on planning beyond COVID-19, we talked about how systems change is people change. Our next virtual community conversation—on Thursday, June 18 at 4 p.m. ET—will be on how we can truly center race equity in our work, our communities, and our society. We will be joined by Carolyn Lowery, racial equity professional and Mission Partners consultant.
Please take care of yourselves,
Founder and CEO
ETA: Our June 18 community conversation recap report and podcast/audio replay is available here: Race and Humanity in the Workplace, modeling a conversation on race with Carolyn Lowery and Carrie Fox.