This is an unprecedented time. A time that calls for us to reckon with our past and combat racial injustice.
We like to consider the work that we do inherently rooted in access and opportunity for historically marginalized communities that have been disproportionality affected by institutionalized inequity, but this itself is not enough. Recent course of events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other black men and women have only exacerbated the deep-rooted racial barriers and injustices present in the very fabric of our society. For their families, our hearts ache. One thing is clear: We do a deep disservice to our communities by turning a blind eye, being silent, and pretending as if this is temporary.
It is hard to know exactly what to do or what to say during these moments but we do know that we cannot do this work alone. In the simple yet telling words of James Baldwin, “I have to make you conscious of the things you do not see.” As community development leaders, we have a responsibility to call upon our partners and ask them to listen, care deeply, and take action by being a strong ally to black colleagues, black friends, and the black community. Are we practicing compassion? Are we educating ourselves and speaking out in support of those who suffer discrimination, hatred or racial violence through their mere existence? This should not only take place during times of injustice but through our everyday actions and discourse, and confronting our own privilege through very close examination.
Today, we stand in solidarity with those who call for meaningful change at every level of our justice system. We support the peaceful protests and social rallies that stand in resistance against acts of violence against black men and women. We support comprehensive social policy that dismantles structural barriers to resources for people of color and help build better pathways to equity.
The time is now and we hope you will join us in dismantling inequality and building the highest system of compassion, fairness, and justice.
New Jersey Community Capital