We Support the Protection of African American Lives

Dear friends of Safe Streets,

This is my letter to anyone who is willing to listen and work with me. First, I would like to apologize for not sending a message sooner.  I wanted to engage the entire Safe Streets staff in a discussion about the message which proved to be very valuable.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers, we send this message clarifying that Safe Streets stands against police brutality and for racial equity in education, health and criminal justice.
 
George Floyd’s murder, and the murder of many African Americans before him at the hands of law enforcement, strikes at the heart of democracy. If we do not work toward equity for all we fall short of the ideals of democracy. We unequivocally support the protection of African American lives. We condemn the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers. We condemn prejudice, implicit bias, and discrimination against African Americans. We are actively working to promote equity in our community. 
 
We recognize that the work of righting the wrongs done against African Americans is not only very important to us but also daunting. We must do this work with humility and authenticity as we partner with communities that have been marginalized and oppressed. We continue examination of the policies and programming that guide the organization through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. We are committed to work along-side the African American community to address acts of prejudice and bias that have prevented full engagement of people of color in our work.
 

We are committed to create a safe and inclusive community environment by amplifying the voices of African Americans and people of color. We believe it is our responsibility to help address exclusionary and unjust practices through our work and in our workplace. We will be sending out more detailed information on Safe Streets work towards diversity, equity and inclusion in the coming weeks.

We are asking all neighbors, youth and stakeholders to be allies and stand up and demand action against systemic racism. We must all take responsibility to learn what brought about oppression, prejudice and bias through the history of our past practices in justice, education, the economy and in health services.
 
If you are unsure of an actionable step you can take to work against systemic racism, we have listed some steps below, and this list is heavily borrowed from work done by the Youth Development Executives of King County
 

Thank you for the work you do to make Pierce County safer, healthier and more vibrant for everyone.

In solidarity,

Executive Director

Some Actions You Can Take

Check in on friends and co-workers of color to see how they are doing

Donate to or subscribe to the newsletter for the Tacoma Urban League

Expand your understanding of racism with the following books and articles:                 

Connect with the Metropolitan Development Council as they discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on less-privledged populations:  Metropolitan Development Council Straight Talk Webinar Series

Additional Anti-Racism Resources Courtesy of the Youth Development Executives of King County       

A clear reminder to white folks as we return to work on Monday: Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not

Andre Taylor, founder of Not This Time and a leader of the peaceful protest for Black lives on Why Peaceful Protests Are So Important

A few places to donate:

Equity Matters Color Brave Space norms: How to run a better equity-focused meeting.

Black Lives Matter, justice for George Floyd activities for K-8 kids: Colorful Pages

Tools for building more equitable organizations: Awake to Woke to Work, with race equity at the center

A growing list of books, readings, movies and more: Anti-racism resources for white people and parents

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