At this time we at AVillage Inc., want to establish solidarity with all of those who are committed to anti-racism, equity, and prioritizing marginalized voices and the needs of vulnerable people.
AVillage…, Inc. welcomes all neighbors and community members, groups, organizations, officials to join us in crafting and delivering a collective statement to combat racism, and systemic oppression with outlined demands, action steps and milestones to track progress. This statement will serve as the barometer for behavior and accountability in our community as well as communicate our priorities and how we wish to engage.
2020 has demanded a lot of us as individuals, as a community, and as advocacy organizations. Despite being faced with fiscal/legislative challenges as a nation, then falling victim to a delayed response to a Pandemic disease that choked our medical institutions and resources, and consequently a resulting economic downturn due to businesses closing and surging unemployment.
All of this is in the context of rampant and systemic inequality. One such example — being directed to flatten the curve by "social distancing" requires that those without privilege are further cut off from resources and services, and those in "essential" positions are overly exposed to risk with no hazard pay and often no personal protective equipment.
In this climate, the youth have been deprived of their birthright experiences and rights of passage in our culture that we all enjoyed due to a raging pandemic that not only disrupted their school year, likely impacted their families economically, and is changing the landscape of their futures. They should be our ultimate priority at this time. Without resources, programming and responsible leadership they are taking to the streets. They are at risk. Any plan must prioritize their needs, both financial and emotional.
In the midst of that "newer" crisis the perennial scourge of racism, institutional and interpersonal, still ravaged our communities and spread throughout social media. In a short period of time, we had national outrage over the racist false report from Amy Cooper in Central Park, the murders of Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade.
This serves to continuously re-open old wounds as we are reminded of other murders of Black individuals that have gripped the headlines, e.g. Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Atatiana Jefferson to name a few. On a local level, the incidents involving Ellazar Williams, Nah-Cream Moore, and Donald Shaw “Dontay” Ivy left the community feeling it has never felt been equitably addressed or adequately resolved. We put this in the context of the larger historical trauma and legacy of Rosewood, Black Wall Street, Emmet Till and countless other lynchings on American soil.
This is traumatic. We are experiencing the full gambit of emotions from sadness, grief, fear, anger and eventual disgust... we know that many can personally never erase the imagery of a 200 pound Man on another Man’s neck who was handcuffed; it is emblazoned in our minds and we are deeply disturbed. This is the collective experience for us all we are certain and a sickening metaphor for the role of racism in our society — kneeling on our collective necks. “WE CANNOT BREATHE.”
Not only were we all collectively traumatized by the videotaped murder of George Floyd, but we also watched in our city and across the world peaceful protestors being met with military tactics in some communities.
Yes, there have been mass protests across the globe, perhaps they are disruptive to your attempts to carry on business. Some have devolved into riots, or as we acknowledge, open rebellion. Asking do we condone violence and looting, is like asking do we want there to be the resulting violence and oppressive response — of course not. Yet one can only expect people to scream into the void where justice is supposed to reside. Centuries-long repression will always bubble over as the natural state of man, as philosophers say, is to be free.
In order to be strategic about how best to take action to create change we want to conduct listening sessions where the directly impacted, innocent bystanders, peaceful protestors, and deeply disturbed citizens will be allowed to air their grievances with the authorities and understand how their actions escalated and endangered communities they are responsible for protecting.
We want to also dialogue on what sort of agreements can be reached and protocols changed to prevent this in the future.
This is merely the beginning but we close out this letter extending our hand for you to join us,
AVillage Board President, Tabetha Wilson
To collaborate email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-451-9849.