A Public Statement from Cornerstone’s Executive Director on 6/1/2020
This has been an incredibly devastating week. As well as a painful few months. Over 100,000 of our country’s citizens, disproportionately people of color, have died from COVID-19; our economy is on a roller coaster ride; and our city is the epicenter of our country’s long history of racism. There aren’t enough words to describe the feelings that all these things bring about…sadness, confusion, anger, fear.
At Cornerstone, we are all mourning the tragic death of George Floyd. We know that his, along with many other black and brown lives that have been lost across this country due to unnecessary violence, continue to make our communities unsafe for so many individuals and families.
For us, at Cornerstone, we know that recent events are just a part of much larger systemic inequities that exist across our nation. Some of these include lack of access to jobs, housing, healthcare, education and fewer opportunities for wealth mobility. But, in addition to these structural inequalities, our black and brown citizens are also impacted by racial disparities at many levels within our criminal justice system, including law enforcement. We know that black civilians are more likely to be stopped by police and more likely to experience the use of force, which can tragically lead to death in many instances.
Over the past year, Cornerstone has been working hard at looking inward to challenge our own work around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. We understand that it will take all of us to create real positive change that ultimately will show up in the daily lives of people of color. First and foremost, we need to start by listening to their experiences and honor the pain, anguish, and trauma that has resulted from our personal and systemic failings.
In addition, we encourage everyone to step forward and engage in actions that can make a difference for those most significantly impacted by racial injustice:
- Take time to become educated. Read books and connect with anti-racist resources. Don’t look to our black, brown and indigenous friends to teach us.
- Disrupt racism by speaking out and refusing to entertain insensitive talk.
- Be willing to get uncomfortable. Put yourself in situations with people who are not afraid to speak honestly and openly with you about their experience.
- Understand your own prejudices. For many of us, since we were born, we have been exposed to a variety of negative ideas about people of color.
- Listen to people who you might not necessarily agree with and look for voices that will challenge you in your personal biases.
Cornerstone is committed to anti-violence work across our community. We also know that racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and xenophobia are interconnected and can’t be examined separately from one another. Our work is to confront and challenge the root causes of these and help to inspire others to act for change.
Today, as we all grieve the death of George Floyd, it’s up to all of us to reach out to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to take action and be a part of creating positive lasting change in our communities.