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Dear community partners, neighbors and friends:
Across the nation, and here at home in Philly, the events of the past weeks have been devastating. The brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd, following the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor; the righteous anger over police practices and systemic racism that led to their deaths, and many who preceded them; the charged confrontations ensuing theft and fire on neighborhood commercial corridors, have been soul-wrenching.
Yesterday, hundreds of us converged on 52nd Street in West Philadelphia, to clean-up debris and sweep shattered glass. Coming together to clean-up was a good first step to healing, and beginning to address injustice in our community, but at the risk of superficiality; we can’t sweep away the problems at the heart of these matters. Even more essential, is the need to address the underlying issues that caused the damage in the first place-racism, redlining, prejudice, poverty and systemic disinvestment.
LISC Philadelphia has forged deep relationships with the communities and residents we serve. Many of those communities and neighbors are especially hurting. We respect these responsibilities and acknowledge the privilege afforded to us when welcomed to serve with you. To the communities we serve, LISC does not take our responsibilities lightly. We hear your fear and anger, we support your calls for justice, and we remain honored to work alongside you.
We can and will do better by listening more intently and humbly to our community partners. We are prepared to support community organizing and justice, not just engagement and safety, and to invest in more resident- and community-owned housing and enterprises. We are committed to using our position of privilege to advocate more strongly for our communities and against the institutional policies and practices that have led to decades of injustice and the past weeks of devastation.