We find ourselves with heavy hearts as our nation awakens every morning awash in pain and suffering. Whether experiencing it in our own circumstances, seeing it on the news or in our neighborhood, or explaining it to our kids, there is no escaping the distress all around us.
The pain we feel now is not new for Black Americans. It simply reflects a heightened level of anguish resulting from decades of racial injustice that includes false promises, broken social contracts, and the propagation of a narrative that the racial divide in our nation is perceived but not real. Our black friends are understandably angry, exhausted, and out of options.
In the words of Van Jones, “where there is common pain, there should be common purpose.” Yet, despite this common pain, we continue to find ways to divide and blame instead of seeking answers, finding unity, and recognizing our oneness.
As White Americans who have benefitted from systemic racism for so long now, today is a day in which we need to stop talking and dig in and do the real work. This moment holds in it the opportunity for a true turning point that we absolutely must seize to stem the tide of suffering across our nation and to bring the unity of humankind into the forefront.
We need to act. This opportunity is at the doorstep of all organizations and individuals, but we feel it particularly critical for an organization such as ours that works daily for greater social, environmental, and economic justice. Each of these areas is deeply and inextricably tied to racial justice. We cannot solve one area without addressing the others. As an organization with an all-white staff, we need to start by looking in the mirror to address our own shortcomings and commit to doing more from there.
While there is no one simple answer, we are making decisions immediately that will set the stage for our next bold moves to support substantial and lasting change. As a first action, we will form a Race Unity Board comprised of diverse people from the communities we serve. The goal of this board will be to create a collaborative plan of action based on diverse views and experiences that will advance racial unity in our programmatic work and for our community.
We honor all in our community who are taking this moment in time very seriously and who stand in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters physically, emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise. We must work together to ensure that these recent events are the last in a long series of dominoes that have fallen in a brutal history of racial inequity. We are proud to be a part of this movement and we look forward to partnering with many of you on this most important journey.
If you are interested in getting involved in our Race Unity initiative, please contact our Executive Director, Jennifer Anderson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trellis for Tomorrow Board and Staff