Black Lives Matter. The suffering inflicted by COVID-19 falls disproportionately on black and brown people due to a much more sinister pandemic—the centuries long plague of systemic racism that killed Mr. Rayshard Brooks, Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, and millions of other black persons — and inflicts indelible sorrow and persistent subjugation. Born from, spread and sustained by privileged white society, there is no vaccine, no antigen for racism and privilege. There is only acceptance of responsibility, active opposition and concession of ill-gotten power and resources by the perpetrators, beneficiaries, and complicit. And that must start with hearts and minds. A line drawn in the sand will blow away and one in text can be ignored. One in your heart will not erode and cannot be forgotten.
PILP and all our colleague social justice organizations also must look inward and must act. We must proclaim that aspirational pleas to dismantle segregation “root and branch” and to move towards equity and justice “with all deliberate speed” mean nothing without immediate, concerted and sustained action that includes consideration of unconscious bias when making any decision.
We embrace and say: Black Lives Matter. And we act on it with people of all races around the world. Going forward we will work to build, restore and advance the legal foundations of anti-racism, affirmative action, and economic equity. This includes demanding the reallocation of resources away from policing and incarceration and into affordable housing, universal health care, jobs, a living income, public education, supportive services, and community reinvestment. This includes decriminalizing race and homelessness, providing unhoused persons with housing, and preventing evictions for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19 and its aftermath. This includes making affordable housing and public benefits available to lower income persons of color in all communities and neighborhoods. And it means confronting implicit bias in all our work and in our hearts and minds.
We have a lot of work to do. We are committing to look inwardly and improving our program so that it is anti-racist. We commit to helping create a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive. We look forward to the effort and are prepared to rise to the challenge.