COVID-19 demanded that we all slow down. While Solid Ground’s service to communities continued, much of the rest of our lives came to a halt. Streets, stores, and companies emptied out. For many, it has been a chance to hold our loved ones closer, to take a breath. And yet, despite the stillness, systemic racism and white supremacy continue to assault communities – having recently snuffed out the breath of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many people of color.
Times like these hit close to home for Solid Ground’s staff and residents, as this June will be the 3rd anniversary of the murder of Charleena Lyles at the hands of police. Charleena was part of the Sand Point Housing community; her loss is still deeply felt today.
Like so many communities, we are witnessing what Kimberlé Crenshaw calls the “unmattering of black lives.” The United States and its institutions were built upon this unmattering of black lives through centuries of slavery, genocide, forced migration, lynching, and other actions of dehumanization and disenfranchisement.
This weekend marks the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, often referred to as the single worst incident of racial violence in America, when deputized white supremacists killed hundreds, looted, and burned to the ground 40 square blocks of homes, hospitals, schools, churches, and businesses in the thriving Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It continues today through emboldened white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence. Feelings of rage, helplessness, fear, and numbness are natural responses to individual and collective trauma. Our hearts ache for the families of those taken by violence stoked by racism. Their lives mattered.
On Wednesday, June 3, we are asking everyone to pause at noon for a moment of silence in honor of all of the people of color who have been victimized by police in our country.
There are no words to remove the unbearable experience of white supremacy, to enable healing amidst unspeakable violence that keeps happening, or to convey the depth of sympathy felt for Black friends, colleagues, and communities. We cannot undo the embodied pain of the ancestral, collective trauma of racism that Black, Indigenous, and other people of color have endured.
Even during a global pandemic, communities need to come together to release the pain of this trauma, to know that they are not alone in their fight for justice. The events of this week show us the power of collective action. May they lead to real, sustained change. Solid Ground supports communities protesting violence across the United States.
We are inspired by demonstrators who have come out to demand justice, and we stand by their call for the arrests of all of the perpetrators of George Floyd’s murder.* On Wednesday, June 3, we ask everyone to pause at noon for a moment of silence in honor of all of the people of color who have been victimized by police in our country.
( *Note: This was originally posted before charges were brought against the three officers who enabled and did not interrupt George Floyd’s murder, in addition to the officer who executed him.)
History tells us that we must remain vigilant in our advocacy for liberation. As an anti-poverty organization, we understand the roles of systemic racism and white supremacy as tools to perpetuate violence and poverty.
For decades, Solid Ground has worked to solve poverty and undo racism through collective and individual anti-racist work. This is why we do this work. This is why we show up with communities, following and learning from their leaders and organizations. Change takes time, transformation can take generations, but together we can advance antiracist work and antiracist policies for a better future.
- Learn more about the protests on the website of the national Black Lives Matter movement.
- Here are some tips and resources on what to do right now as an ally.
- Here is a brief pamphlet on the intersections between race and poverty.