Over the last sixty days, I was challenged to lead during an unprecedented pandemic that impacted so many lives. COVID-19 has global fatal implications and over 100,000 people lost their lives and some are still suffering. The world readjusted, and social distancing became a norm. Over the last days, I’ve had to experience a different type of pain in the midst of a pandemic that caused me to weep repeatedly with increased anxiety and worry. The fear, sadness, confusion, anger, and frustration does not begin to describe the emotions at this time.
Simultaneously, we are watching COVID-19 destroy lives, and police officers murder Black men on our screens. Both, seemingly, an uncontrolled threat to human dignity and value. The fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic of this magnitude has been compounded by horrific reminders that racism and inequity still shape the American experience for African Americans.
Millions of people across this country are taking to the streets to raise their voices in protest in response to the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing disproportionate murders and mistreatment of Black men by police officers coupled with an unequal justice, and the ongoing dichotomy of racism in our society. We must find ways to sustain this momentum for racial and social justice.
We DO NOT accept the violence and looting, but certainly understand the decades of triggers that lead to this type of action. A small segment is wrongfully using the protest as an excuse for criminal activity, while the majority of diverse people are passionate about real change happening for the Black community.
Community Action Partnership was born out of the civil rights movements over 56 years ago, and the fight against poverty, community empowerment, and racial equity is still at the forefront of our advocacy. Our mission to be a catalyst for real change in our communities is as strong as ever before. Ultimately, it is this new generation of activism and Community Action leaders that will shape the strategy moving forward. There is a multitude of lessons that must be documented and implemented as we continue our efforts, but change must begin today in order to heal the pain of the loss of Black American lives.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. articulated, it is important to understand that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and protest (riot) is the voice of the unheard.” Our resolve going forward is that we have a voice, but that voice must be the same response by ALL of us and not just some of us. Once that occurs, then the start of healing and change will emerge.
We must find ways to chart a new course. No one should be afraid of police officers in our community who are sworn to protect and serve. We will continue to work to build bridges of hope and resolve to make the communities we serve safe. Community Action Partnership of Orange County will work to be a stimulus for justice and equity as we strategize against poverty and serve our most vulnerable populations. Police officers are a big factor in our communities, and we must work together to move forward in order to change our future.
There’s a hole in my soul, and an unshakeable pain in my spirit. We have to do better; we must demand better; WE ARE BETTER than this.
We stand for justice and equity for black communities
We stand in solidarity with our black colleagues, families, friends, and partners in the fight against poverty.
We must support efforts to eradicate targeted hate and pain and suffering against black men and black communities.
We must all join to build a future where our children can live free of fear and hatred.