June 2, 2020
Category: Public Policy
Tags: Community, Community-Building, Equity, Inclusion,
Black lives matter.
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. We speak their names. We are outraged and grieving for them, and for all Black people murdered since before this country was called the United States. Every day, Black people suffer violence, insults, discrimination, bias, inequality, injustice, and microaggressions all because of the color of their skin.
To those who are hurting, who are raising your voices in protest and actively fighting back against oppression: we see and support you. Black Lives Matter. Today and every day.
NCCJ is heartbroken by the continuous, horrific, and senseless acts of racism that have taken place over the last few weeks, and for so many decades and centuries prior to this, culminating last week in the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
But know this: NCCJ believes in the strength of the bonds that bind our community together and that our community can be a force for positive change. We believe in bringing the community together, even when it seems like we are being ripped apart at the seams. NCCJ stands against hatred and will continue to empower our community to stand with us. As we have for more than 80 years, NCCJ continues to work with you to build more inclusive communities – for all of us, not just some of us.
NCCJ will continue to oppose bias, bigotry, and racism in all their forms. That will never change.
Yet, it’s often true that “what got us here, won’t get us there.” NCCJ is evolving to meet the circumstances and challenges of today. This moment in history is a crucible that is changing how we do this work, as it must. As we continue to voice our outrage, now is also a time to pause, reflect, and reassess what is working and what needs to be done differently to achieve the healing and drastic, tangible, and positive steps toward equity and justice that we strive to create in our communities.
Right now, as we process our emotions surrounding recent events, we at NCCJ are also learning and channeling these emotions to create positive, systemic change in our community. We are gathering and crafting resources. We are creating detailed action plans and tools for the coming days, weeks, months, and beyond. We will also continue to do what we do best: provide space for people to come together to have conversations that help us better understand each other.
We invite you to be part of this conversation. You’re part of our community and your voice is important. We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, and plans. To begin, we are hosting virtual office hours on Thursday, June 4, from 5 – 6 PM and Tuesday, June 9 from 12 noon – 1 PM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a Zoom link so we can connect and plan together.
Speaking to our Black readers: now is likely to be an especially difficult time for you. We encourage you to sustain yourself for the long haul. This isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. We hope you are able to find or create the space and opportunity to take the time you need for rest and recovery; to be present with yourself and your emotions; and to be in community, if and however you are able. We encourage you to give yourself permission to check out and re-energize. Find your breath. Pace yourself. We see you. We love you. We are here for you.
Speaking to allies in this struggle who see the injustice and racism and are looking for ways to act: we offer a few resources below, including some actions you can take. But these are just the beginning. Above all, we urge you to listen to Black voices and then share what you learn with others. Have those difficult but necessary conversations with your friends, relatives, and colleagues. Please do not stay silent.
What You Can Do
- Educate yourself. Are these topics new to you? Now is always the right time to learn more about racial justice and the history of race in America. You can start by reading The 1619 Project. Check out Talking About Race, the new web portal of digital tools and resources from the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Read How To Be An Antiracist, So You Want To Talk About Race and other books on anti-racism, preferably purchased from a Black-owned bookseller. The upcoming online seminar Hard Conversations: Introduction to Racism is one of many excellent courses offered by anti-racism educators.
- Take action. “Taking action” means many different things. Protest is one way to take action, and it’s vital to the movement. Additionally, here are 26 other ways to be a part of the struggle and 11 things you can do to support Black Lives Matter. We encourage you to use your skills, your knowledge and your privilege wherever you can to make a difference.
- Speak out in the places where your voice is heard. Are some of your friends, relatives, or colleagues making statements or taking actions that advance racism? Are you seeing racist remarks or memes on social media? Speak up and challenge these individuals’ language and assumptions, even (and especially) when it makes you uncomfortable. While you may never change someone’s mind, you are making it clear where you stand and you are practicing anti-racism and preparing for future conversations.
- These difficult conversations are deeply necessary. Approaching every conversation with the intention of listening to understand is a key part of engaging in effective dialogue. Check out NCCJ’s Open Minds, Respectful Voices initiative for 5 community practices to foster better, more respectful conversations. We hope you will consider signing your name to the growing list of people in our community who are committing to putting these practices into action in their daily lives.
- Keep going after this moment we’re experiencing now is over. The fight against racism and for justice and equity is bigger than what’s happening right now. It’s a struggle that stretches long past any of our lifetimes. Commit to being an ally and practicing anti-racism in the long-term.
- Have questions? Need support? Email us at email@example.com. We’ve got your back, and we’re here to help.