The series of recent events highlighting the routine and perpetual inequities that people of color routinely face have reignited frustrations around the lack of progress in changing these systems of prejudice, bias and inequity. George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee and countless other victims have shown us through their untimely and unnecessary deaths, just how far we have to go.
We are here to listen. We understand the importance of not changing the narrative, but listening to and seeking to understand the very real issues that demand urgent resolve for our black community. What do we need to change? Are there ways we can do better, or help our communities to do better?
We will do our part
Second, we are here to support. We are here to advocate against these injustices. We all know someone who has experienced, or we have personally experienced, de-humanizing and degrading treatment because of skin color. This is not “their” problem; it’s our problem. We will seek out information, learn how to be an ally or anti-racist.
Those who have died are people: our neighbors, our friends, or our family – all of whom unjustly lost their lives. Their names are constant reminders that we must continue to stand up to oppression, dehumanization and the deterioration of our communities in West Michigan. We will continue to work with the National Equity Project during this time, and will be developing additional tools and resources to help us as an organization continue to do our part, and do it better.
The image below is from “A Decade of Watching Black People Die.” The story highlights the systematic and institutional racism and the very real people who have lost their lives as a result.