The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless more Black American lives serve as a harsh reminder of how entrenched racism is within our country. It is the system that underlies all systems of American life – justice, culture, housing, education, economics, politics. Racism is designed to prop up the revolting belief of white supremacy. This is wrong.
Community Action envisions a community where residents are strong, resilient, involved in the community, and live with dignity and security. We believe this can happen by eliminating issues of poverty and creating opportunities for people and communities to thrive. But to eliminate poverty we must acknowledge the dominant role race plays in our community. Our own data tells us that people of color experience poverty at twice the rate of white people here in Washington County. If we are to achieve our mission, then it is imperative for us to understand and acknowledge how race has been used at a systemic level to limit opportunity for some while enhancing it for others. These are the systems we all live in and these are the systems we need to address if we are to successfully create opportunity for everyone in Washington County.
Community Action is an anti-racist organization. We have a responsibility to identify and change racist systems in our community and address racist behavior when we see it. That responsibility requires us to look inward as well. We have worked hard to implement racial equity principles within our organization, and we know that we must continue this work to realize our vision for Washington County.
Community Action was born out of the Civil Rights Movement. We stand for a society where one’s skin color does not determine one’s fate. We stand for systems that are inclusive of the marginalized and deliver justice to the oppressed. Today, we recommit ourselves to the principles of that movement by standing up for freedom, justice, and equality for all.
We begin by stating with one collective voice – Black Lives Matter.
Nancy Ford, Board Chair Kemp Shuey, Executive Director