We want to acknowledge the real pain and suffering that is occurring across the country right now, particularly for Black people. While the current circumstances and sentiments have sadly become all too common in America, each of these moments has the potential to be a watershed moment. The tragic and unjustified killing of George Floyd and so many others should lead to real, systemic change in the United States.
People of color continue to face experiences, injustices and threats that others will never experience. It is hard to comprehend and impossible to truly understand. The deep-seated racism and idea that people of color are ‘less than’ has persisted—through slavery, segregation and ‘separate but equal’ to the new Jim Crow, mass incarceration and police brutality.
For a variety of reasons, including longstanding racism and fear, racial profiling, and both explicit and implicit individual biases, Black people and other people of color continue to be overrepresented in every area of the justice system. People of color are more likely to be pulled over, searched, charged, and convicted, often receiving steeper fines and sterner sentences. But the most disturbing fact of all is that Black people are inordinately killed or beaten in police custody, too often without justice or repercussions for those responsible.
We must find a way to stop this violence against communities of color. The protests around the country and the dialogue they are generating is a start. But that dialogue must lead to awareness and that awareness must lead to action.
Racism is entwined in every aspect of our lives, and combating racism must be fought on multiple fronts. As an organization and as individuals, we continue to strive to be explicitly anti-racist in our language and our work. This includes speaking out against injustice as well as drawing attention to racial inequities and necessary policy changes to reduce or eliminate them. Undoing ingrained, systemic issues born out of racism is not an easy task, but it can start with identifying biases and inequities, calling them out, and working together across racial, economic and political lines to challenge the system and rebuild it in the name of justice.
Nothing should distract us from the important work that is ahead in addressing the police brutality that is a threat to black and brown people. But we also need to continue to tackle the pervasive racial disparities in health, housing, education, incarceration and other policy areas—racial disparities that have been magnified by COVID-19. This includes undoing decades of damage that policies and practices have done to people of color.
We remain committed to doing everything in our power to promote racial equity and justice, and we are grateful for your support and partnership in this effort.