We are in pain. We are angry. We fear for our lives. We fear for our children’s lives. This is the unjust reality for our Black children, youth, parents, colleagues and neighbors as we witness the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor taken because of the color of their skin, as millions have been taken before across our nation’s history. It is abhorrent, inhumane, and unacceptable. Black Lives Matter.
Racism is so deeply woven throughout our institutions and systems. We have watched COVID-19 wreak havoc on neighborhoods and communities of color because of fundamental inequity in our society. The virus doesn’t discriminate: we do. Undoing racist systems is complex work, yet as our Chief Operating Officer Kym Watson said this morning, the request is so simple, so fundamental to human decency: treat others as you wish to be treated.
As we state in our organizational values, Graham’s Pillars, “we recognize the effects of trauma and injustice and provide a safe and nurturing environment where people can heal and call for justice.” We also believe that healing cannot begin without safety, and safety cannot be achieved without accountability. We call on our local, state and federal leaders to stop the protection of those who do harm to Black lives, especially by those entrusted with protecting communities. We further call on them to restore investments in young people and neighborhoods where opportunity has been impeded most, starting immediately.
While we ask for accountability outside, we at Graham Windham hold ourselves accountable as well. We – I — must do more to bring about necessary change. As part of our ongoing organizational visioning process, we will be evaluating all of the ways in which we can do more and need your feedback in that process.
Thank you for all that you do to support our vital work and stand with us for justice.