― bell hooks, Killing Rage: Ending Racism
I have struggled to find the words that adequately convey the pain, frustration and anger I feel regarding the current and long standing injustices in our community, in our nation. It is too easy to be rendered speechless; which is why I must speak out. The institutional racism embedded in the attitudes, practices and norms of the nonprofit sector – one that withholds approval from transformative measures – mirror and reflect the most grotesque characteristics of our broader society.
If we are courageous enough to look beyond the veil of everyday activities, we will find structural racism at the root of our most pressing social challenges. Yet, we can no longer tolerate the injustice and inequity that perpetuates the systemic oppression of black people, indigenous people, and people of color. Meaningful and lasting change requires us to dismantle the policies, practices and structures that support racism, devaluation of life and dehumanization.
Co.act Detroit amplifies our collective power to affect transformative social impact and to co-create the change we want to see in our world. That’s our mission. Embracing business as usual fails to address the deep-rooted wounds of racial inequity and white supremacy that permeate our society and can literally be a death sentence for marginalized people, as evidenced in recent weeks through the COVID-19 crisis and senseless and brutal racial violence across our country.
If you’re reading this and the events of the past week have been a shock, I urge you to think deeply about what you can do to acknowledge the pain of racism, to use your platform to raise awareness and create healing, to take action, to continually educate yourself, and to challenge those in your midst who hold onto racist beliefs. If you are Black and reading this, we affirm your right to live, to love, to breathe, to be safe, and to strive for a better world that we define. At Co.act Detroit, we will continue to affirm that and more in practice.
Executive Director, Co.act Detroit