By: Jennifer Rhoads, CFP

 

To our Black and Brown neighbors, colleagues and friends: We hear you; we see you; we’re grieving with you.

We also stand with you.

The Community Foundation is rising up and taking action, alongside our community partners, who are calling for racial justice in southwest Washington and across the nation. We stand because of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks and Ahmaud Arbery, and because their killings are part of an oppressive pattern that continues to steal an untold number of Black lives and inflict injustice on entire communities. This pattern is not confined to policing or even the justice system; it touches every facet of American life.

This is systemic racism, and it threatens our mission of creating a vibrant and engaged community.

We have long recognized this truth, and have also perpetuated harm with our own silence for too long. So today, we are publicly committing to the pursuit of equity  in our work and within our communities. These words don’t represent a starting line for us. They are yet another leg in a long journey that has been steering our work for the past four years.

The work at hand is bigger than any one organization. It’s the work of humanity.

Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke of a “network of mutuality” that binds us together. That connection is what we are feeling and seeing today—the pain, the anger, the disbelief and still some who are in complete denial. Racism devalues and destroys Black lives. We can easily assign blame to the killers, but we must also recognize who is responsible for ending the violence. That falls on each of us, especially those who feel safely distanced from the issue. Until we acknowledge this, racism will continue to corrode our communities and undermine the liberty and justice that we strive for as a country.

We are inspired by and support our nonprofit partners and community members who are organizing, protesting and advocating for change. We must all speak out against racism and demand justice. We urge our donors, partners and neighbors to join in and sustain this momentum. If you need a place to start, we’ve compiled a list of organizations that are addressing social justice issues at the state and local levels.

Our collective efforts are more important than ever.

The Community Foundation was built to tackle tough challenges, yet never alone. Creating a more just and equitable region starts by listening to, honoring and working with our neighbors who are victimized by racism. Only then will we create the systemic changes needed. We look forward to working toward this more perfect version of southwest Washington—one where everyone can find justice and achieve prosperity.

 

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