I am one of the community organizers of the multi-city effort to meaningfully address systemic racism and bias.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended. We had a diverse, bi-partisan group of attendees, from state representatives and senators to law enforcement to city council members and engaged community members. It was a meaningful, long over-due conversation. I am thrilled to see what happens next.
Systemic racism and bias affect us all. We all must take significant action to affect change. This means getting uncomfortable, making changes in how we think, act and what we believe. It means seriously addressing our biases, being open to being called out when we cause harm, listening, learning and trying again.
I would like to highlight our motivation and goals. We are here for the long haul. Our goal is to dismantle systems of oppression, some of which are as old as our nation’s existence. This is a daunting task, one that will not be solved with a single action, but consistent, long term advocacy, change and progress. This has to be done now. We as a society, cannot afford to allow systems of abuse to persist. We have to be the ones to make the change.
As I said on the call, “Many folks think that racism ended when segregation ended or because we had a Black president. To be certain, we have seen progress. However, the way in which systemic racism manifests itself has just shifted in how it’s enacted. We cannot ignore the fact that Black children go to our schools and are called hateful names, that school policies are designed to moralize the bodies in which we live in and how our hair grows. We cannot ignore the fact that we dismiss injustice with ‘they should have done it the right way’ which is really an expression rooted in white supremacy. We cannot ignore the fact that Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans. Indigenous populations are three times more likely to be killed by police than White Americans. This isn’t because Black or Native Americans commit more crimes than white Americans, it’s because Black and Native Americans are criminalized for the color of their skin.”
1) Get every community in the South King County to commit to this work
2) Commit to long term, sustained work to address our own biases
3) Every city must, without equivocation, denounce acts of hate and bias
4) Establish a community lead commission to hold all levels of city leadership accountable and advocate for underrepresented community members
We feel strongly that healthy communities are ones that provide equitable resources, a safe, inclusive environment that constantly demonstrates that all community members are welcomed, cared for, seen, heard and valued.
I look forward to working with all of our local leaders and elected officials to make all of our communities inclusive, safe and equitable. To learn more about our group, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.