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Today, we mourn with the Black community. Over the past few weeks, our media’s been inundated with countless videos, tweets, Facebook posts, and news stories of black women and men killed by police officers and community members. It is our belief that no community should have to relive these horrific moments time and again and it our responsibility as an organization working to free our community of poverty to be with our clients in their collective mourning.
Over the weekend, what started as a peaceful protest in our community quickly turned to destruction and looting at the hands of individuals intending to to divert attention from the issue of racial inequity and police violence against black people. We continue to fail the Black community when we do not tell this full story. We stand with the peaceful protesters, and alongside them we say; #BlackLivesMatter.
As we take pause, we recognize that as the need for Hopelink resources skyrocket - in some programs more than 800 percent due to the effects of COVID-19, this disease only exacerbates the economic and racial disparities already present in our community. In a time when one often hears, “I can’t wait for everything to go back to normal,” CEO Lauren Thomas said, “we cannot go back to normal if we wish to be a community free of poverty.”
Poverty was “normal.” Racism was “normal.” And now, perhaps more than ever, things must change; because if left to go back to “normal,” communities of color and low-income individuals will continue to face systemic inequities.
It is the old “normal” that allows the affordable housing crisis. It is the old “normal” that makes access to a car necessary if one wants to escape a food desert. And tragically, it is the old “normal” that makes sitting in one’s own home, jogging down the street, or not resisting an officer a death sentence for Black men and women in our communities. This is the painful, infuriating “normal” that as a community, we must challenge at the individual, organizational, and systemic levels.
It is Hopelink’s commitment as an organization to disrupt racism and other forms of bias, and we stand with those in our community who wish to do the same. Too often, the burden of changing inequitable systems lands disproportionately on communities of color, and as an organization serving clients who speak more than 81 different languages, we choose to speak out and do our part in eradicating racism and other forms of bias on our journey toward being a community free of poverty.
It will take all of us, our staff, clients, donors, and partners, working together to show that #BlackLivesMatter in a community free of poverty.