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First, our hearts and sincere condolences are with the family of George Floyd. A nation mourns with you. We watched for almost eight minutes as a police officer took the life of a handcuffed, unarmed Black man in Minneapolis by kneeling on his neck. The shock of this is overwhelming, even though it is a scene that has become all-too-familiar with the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and so many others.
It’s clear that this is not an isolated incident. Nor is blatant police brutality the only issue to be addressed. Rather, George Floyd’s murder is one stomach-turning example of the way systemic racism--embedded in our country’s fabric since before its founding-- continues to shape every aspect of our lives. Black people in America have endured 400 years (and counting) of inequity in access to justice, education, housing, employment, and healthcare, yet many Americans believe breakthrough steps forward like Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, or the election of President Obama heralded the end of racism. These events were all important, but today, even as we mark Juneteenth to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the Confederacy, we acknowledge that such milestones are not enough to change deeply ingrained systems.
It is painful & uncomfortable to deconstruct the ways in which our country has fallen short of its ideals. But it is no more painful than enduring the status quo, where Black Americans still do not enjoy the same right to live & pursue happiness. We can all thrive together, if we have the courage to face the truth and do something about it.
We need your help. We know that we all must act to end systemic racism. We know that we, individually and as LISC Toledo, need to change going forward to ensure we are not just standing in solidarity with communities of color, but also accelerating our work to dismantle the systems and processes that are designed to maintain the racial wealth gap.
We are committed to working together so that everyone really does better in Toledo. Please join us.