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Message from LISC Flint
Our hearts and sincere condolences are with the family of George Floyd. A nation mourns with them. We watched a handcuffed, unarmed Black man in Minneapolis senselessly lose his life. The shock of this event is overwhelming. Moreover, to experience this trauma in the middle of a pandemic only adds to the tragedy.
This is not an isolated incident. History and recent experience provide too many examples of mistreatment and discrimination.
Let us just say it, at this moment there is real pain that words cannot soothe. Too many people are left feeling angry, powerless and helpless.
Yet in countless communities across the country for countless hours, Americans have assembled peacefully based on a belief in our shared humanity in order to assert and demand that we respect and love one another.
At the risk of giving too much life to opportunistic protestors, this tragedy must be more than a conversation about who looted what and where. We must move beyond the distractions and assertively address the long-term and systematic inequities that plague our communities.
LISC CEO Maurice Jones said, “Intention created the racial wealth gap. It will take intention to close it.”
We commend the plans of Mayor Neeley to address systemic racism in Flint as well as the Flint City Council resolutions that call out racism as a public health crisis and as intolerable and illegal in our criminal justice system.
There is a jigsaw puzzle of proven solutions to pursue including education as a poverty alleviator, quality job access, accessible healthcare, community policing and capital access via community development financial institutions (CDFIs), like LISC. CDFIs were established in response to a need to move money to people and places that need it most.
We will continue to take action and ask that you join us in the following endeavors:
We will continue to invest millions of dollars in economic development projects that provide jobs and positively affect the lives of Flint residents. We are eager to collaborate with groups that want to address proactively these and other issues important to the Flint community.
Racism is not something that is easily put behind us. As Kareem Abdul Jabbar wrote recently, it “is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air."
The peaceful protests in Flint are evidence that the city is seeing the dust and shining the light. Let us be determined and keep shining the light together.