Calling our Community To Action

Last week, the world watched as another unarmed black man was killed by a police officer in front of witnesses and on camera. The fact this happened during a global pandemic has amplified the inequities in public health access and economic equality embedded in our culture.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other people of color who have senselessly lost their lives to police brutality. We know this offers little comfort when cries and pleading are blatantly ignored. There comes a time when saying nothing, says everything. We want our community to know we believe that #BlackLivesMatter. We join the voices calling for change to systemic racism, and we call on every community member to support one another in fighting for equality for black, indigenous and people of color.

Racism, and all forms of oppression, is among one of the root causes of domestic and sexual violence. Fighting against systemic racism is the only way we can work toward building safer communities for EVERYONE. All of us at Women’s Resources of Monroe County, are committed to actively fighting against oppressive and racist policies and practices, and calling out injustice as it happens. As an organization, our core mission has been to promote healing and empowerment for ALL who have experienced abuse – across race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and political affiliation.

For those of us who are white, we must first listen to African Americans and how they are calling us to action. For many white Americans, this is the first time they are opening their eyes to injustices that have been faced by the African American community for centuries. Those who wish to ally themselves in this fight, should seek to learn what biases they hold, amplify black voices and have the hard conversations from positions of humility. We should also seek to understand our own privileges and how we can harness them to build a longer table and not a higher wall. There are insurmountable resources available to those who are ready to do the work (https://www.wrmonroe.org/blm). It is not enough to simply be ‘not racist,’ as this is a position of neutrality. We must all work actively to become ‘anti-racist;’ choosing wholeheartedly dismantle our internal biases and call out racism when we see it.

Let us remember this is a time of grieving for the more than 40 million African Americans in our country. Let us come together as the kind community we are to show compassion, empathy and understanding to those who are enduring the generational traumas of systemic racism. Let people around you know that you stand by taking action against inequality. Use social media to speak out and amplify messages from people of color. Defend people’s right to march, rally and protest in non-violent demonstrations.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is  for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer).

All lives cannot matter, until Black Lives Matter.

Lauren Peterson
Executive Director
Women’s Resources of Monroe County, Inc.