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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Community statements supporting black lives matters


Statements from the community:


June 2, 2020

Dear Friends of ACDC,

Over the past week, protests swept across America calling for justice for George Floyd and the many other Black and Brown people who had senselessly and needlessly died at the hands of the police. It was powerful and beautiful to see so many people come together with signs and chants of “I Can’t Breathe” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”

Yet many news images focus on the subsequent violence and looting. While these images are painful to see, it is all too easy to get distracted by the damages from the core message – namely that there must be change to this system under which Black and Brown lives are discarded so callously, repeatedly.

Several stores in Chinatown suffered damages and loss on Sunday night, on top of the devastating economic loss and rise in anti-Asian sentiment from the pandemic. Across the country, many of the stores targeted were owned by people of color, many of them immigrants who have now lost their livelihood, built from scratch and with sacrifice. It is impossible to know how many of these small businesses will survive.

There will be temptations to blame the protesters. There will be comparisons to the L.A. riots. Except this time, it is happening concurrently with a global health pandemic. All this pain, anxiety and unknowns are compounding into an increasingly divisive society as injustices come to light.

This country has long pitted communities of color against one another, including Asian and Black communities. Asian Americans have often been used as a wedge to split apart people of color, such as the “Model Minority” myth, which puts us on an insidious pedestal while blaming Black and Brown people for their own sufferings. Divisiveness keeps the white supremacy system intact.

But we in the Asian American community must stand together with the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. How can we ask others to stand in solidarity against anti-Asian xenophobia, if we cannot join the call now for justice for George Floyd and others like him?

We have a long road ahead of us. While we take care of one another during this pandemic, we must examine and address anti-Blackness within our own community, stand with our sisters and brothers in the Black and Brown communities, and work together to demand justice and dismantle racism. This time, we will not stand by silently.

Sincerely,

Angie Liou
Executive Director




Dear BCNC Community,
Monday was my first day as CEO of BCNC and I was excited to join this important and impactful organization.
However, Monday was not how I envisioned starting my new role – during a world-wide health crisis or national protests around racial injustices against Black Americans.
Since our founding, BCNC exists to build thriving families, and equitable and stronger communities. COVID-19 has fueled anti-Asian racism, xenophobia, and harassment. The families we serve as well as staff have felt fear and anger as a result. Racist and White supremacist sentiments do not contribute to a thriving community or healthy families. BCNC and I unequivocally condemn these racial injustices.
I believe our country has a lot of critical work to undo that source of fear and anger. Anti-racism work is important to our community, but also especially for our Black neighbors, friends, and colleagues, so they can live their lives safely and without fear. Unfortunately, it is tragically too late for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. I believe any nonprofit agency serving immigrants or people of color is a social justice organization, and our approach to the work should be with an equity lens.
Therefore, just as we combat anti-Asian racism, we must seek to be allies and advocates with the Black community against racism and White supremacy. Without change and justice for Blacks there will be no change and justice for Asians, Latinx, Muslims, or many others. To be true allies to the Black community, we believe the Asian community must also be self-reflective and work to address our own biases and racism. These are difficult and painful conversations, but the work is important, and solidarity will result in change.
Our values will be important as we pursue this work. My professional background working as a counselor for adjudicated teens, at the Boston Children’s Chorus, and the Boston Public Library has provided me a set of diverse experiences grounded in values of love, resilience, creativity, respect, risk-taking, and justice to name a few. These values will undergird our work helping our community be safe and thrive.
My personal story includes these values. Like many of the families we serve, my story begins with parents making tough decisions. It starts with parents making a difficult decision to leave me at the steps of an orphanage in Seoul, South Korea with the hope of a better life and at the same time, an American couple in Southern New Jersey deciding to adopt a baby boy from Asia. Both stories start from a place of love, risk, anxiety, hope, and a little chance. Both couples made a personal sacrifice to "create a pathway to a brighter future" for me. It isn’t without reflection that I’m truly fortunate to be where I am today. In addition to a little luck, I am who I am due to many doors being opened to me by the love, care, and support of others. So, ingrained in me is the desire to give back, serve and help others achieve their potential. Sometimes that means teaching, inspiring confidence in someone, giving someone a first, second or even third opportunity, or just a kind word. It is what our staff does every single day.
Though we are living through challenging times, we need to raise our voices up for a just America. Raise our voices for equity, justice, and inclusion. Raise our voices for a better future.
That future is in our hands. That future is created by our coming together, intentionally planning, and moving the reality we want forward. I’m proud to see an organization that is resilient and adaptable, has incredible community knowledge, a deep desire to respond to our community’s needs, and most important of all a willingness to learn so the future is not foretold and is ours to write. I look forward to connecting with you and doing this work together.

With a heart full,

Ben Hires
Chief Executive Officer

885 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111
ACE NextGen, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect, elevate, and give back to the Asian American Pacific Islander entrepreneur community, and its five chapters in Boston, Houston, Southern California, New York, and Washington, DC, stand in unity and solidarity with the black community in light of recent events. We strongly condemn racism of any kind.

We are calling upon our community to stand up and support the fight against racial injustice and inequality that persist in our country. Now is the time to stand up for each other by joining or contributing resources to organizations that advocate for the black community, people of color, anti-racism, and an equitable society, and by promoting open dialogue within our own circles about racism, biases, and activism.

And as always, we are here for our small business community especially during these challenging times as we navigate an ever changing environment. Please reach out if you need any help.

ACE NextGen will be reaching out to business leaders of the black community within our parent organization, National ACE, and our extended network to come up with a plan of action to best support the black community. If you’d like to be informed or get involved with this initiative, please contact one of your ACE NextGen national or chapter leaders.


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ATASK Stands with Black Lives

We stand with the Black communities of America. The pain, sadness and anger expressed across the nation is undeniable. Systemic racism, white supremacy, police brutality and the historic oppression of the Black community are not new. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubrey are only recent reminders. We are a nation that "Can't Breathe."

Remaining silent perpetuates racism and systemic injustice. We can no longer stay silent and must use our collective voices to demand change. ATASK is committed to joining Black communities and allies to dismantle the structural inequities that oppress Black, indigenous and people of color and divide our nation. There are many ways to raise your voice against racism and create a more equitable and inclusive society.
  • Educate yourself about Black history, anti-racism, anti-blackness, white supremacy, and systemic oppression.  And do this work without asking your Black peers to educate you.
  • Reach out and listen without judgement.
  • Learn how to be a better ally.
  • Support Black businesses.
  • Protest safely and peacefully. 
  • Donate to a charity that supports the Black community and social justice.
  • Vote for change.
  • Support government policies aimed at reforming unjust systems on the state and local levels.

In solidarity,
ATASK



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P.O. Box 120108
Boston, MA 02112
Hotline: 617.338.2355
Office: 617.338.2350

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Statement from AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins on Racial Injustice and Disparities
En español | WASHINGTON—Today AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins released the following statement: 
“As we witness the protests over racial injustice and face the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we believe our nation desperately needs healing. The incidents of racial violence and COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on people of color are not random, but instead are the result of inequality due to a lack of social, economic, and political opportunities. Discrimination of any kind corrodes our communities and our society from the inside out. 
“AARP today continues to be guided by the promise that our founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, made over 60 years ago: ‘What we do, we do for all.’ Through our advocacy, programs, and services, we fight against discrimination, advocate for access to health care, and work to improve the lives of all people, especially those most vulnerable. As we consider this moment in time, it’s clear this work is more important than ever. During these difficult days, AARP will use its voice, resources, and trust in our brand to continue our fight for what is right so all people can live a life of dignity regardless of race, age, or income.

Letter to the Emerson Community from Dr. Lee Pelton, May 31, 2020
Today, I write to you as a Black man and as President of Emerson College.
There is no other way to write to you, given recent events.
I didn’t sleep Friday night. Instead, I spent the night, like a moth drawn to a flame, looking again and again at the video of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a Minneapolis white police officer. It was a legalized lynching. I was struck by the callousness and the casual dehumanization of Mr. Floyd. To that officer, he was invisible – the Invisible Man that Ralph Ellison described in his novel by the same name.
Black Americans are invisible to most of white America. We live in the shadows – even those of us, who like me, sit at the table of bounty. At the same time, we are hyper-visible in classrooms, work places, social settings, and as we go about our daily lives.
On Saturday, I was very angry. The persistent structural racism that undergirds American society and permits the police and others to kill black people is pernicious and ubiquitous.
We mourn George Floyd. But let’s not forget the other George Floyds of which he is but one:
Ahmaud Arbery was jogging when white vigilantes pursued him in their pick-up trucks, shot and killed him. A Harvard educated black birder, Christian Cooper, was bird watching when a white woman walking her dog weaponized the lynching trope in an attempt to summon police.
Do you remember Trayvon Martin or twelve-year old Tamir Rice or Sandra Bland or Philando Castile or Eric Garner or Freddie Gray or Botham Jean or Breonna Taylor?
Say their names. This is not new.
All of them dead. Each of them invisible.
I’m still angry. As President, I didn’t want to write in anger. But I also didn’t want to write the kind of platitudinous letters that ordinarily appear after these kinds of killings. I consulted my children on Saturday. One said, “Dad, I don’t think you need to say anything if you don’t want to. Who even knows what to say right now. And as you said, it’s more up to white people to say something now.”
I consulted friends and one of the wisest among them said, “Let [the world] know how you feel. Everyone who gets it will be better for it; the others, who cares. In some contexts anger is not an emotion; instead, it’s a moral.”
And so, I write today.
I watched the video over and over again well into the morning hours because I was mesmerized by the casualness with which the Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Chauvin dug his knee into his neck for almost eight minutes, even as Floyd repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” As he called on his Mama before he took his last breath, Chauvin continued to talk, he looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He didn’t stop until Floyd was unresponsive.
George Floyd was invisible. And it was his invisibility, a brutal white power structure and Chauvin’s dehumanization of him that killed him.
Floyd has a history. And so do I.
I was born in a house that had no indoor plumbing until I was six years old. Until they died, my mother and both of my grandmothers cleaned houses for middle class and rich white folks. My father was a laborer until he got a good paying job working at the City of Wichita, Kansas, where I was born and raised. When I was in high school, I didn’t know anything about private colleges or universities and even if I had, I would not have been able to afford one of them. So, I enrolled at my local public university, which was essentially a commuter school.
In my lifetime, I have been called the n-word by white people in every state and every city that I have ever lived in.
I have been pulled over driving while black more times than I can remember. I have been spit on by a white parking lot attendant. I was stopped 20 feet from my house by two white police officers in their cruiser, the searing heat of their spot light on my neck, guns drawn on either side of my car because I looked like a black man who was alleged to have stolen something from a convenience store. When I was living on the West Coast, I was pulled over twice in a single night by police officers because, according to each, I didn’t turn on my turn signal the proper feet before a stop sign. As president of the University before Emerson, two teenage boys drove up on the sidewalk to block my path home because I looked like someone who was suspected of stealing from neighborhood homes. When I asked what that person looked like they described someone more than twenty years younger than me. While visiting my cousins in Conway, Arkansas in the 70’s, I suffered the deep humiliation of having to go to the back alley of a local restaurant to order food. I was twenty years old. I was angry at the overt racism and at my cousins for enduring such indignities almost a decade after the passages of the two Civil Rights Acts of the mid-60’s.
That’s my history. And I have dedicated my life’s work to social justice in just about every aspect of American life, but especially for young people who grew up like me.
I also write to you today on the anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma riots in which Greenwood, then the wealthiest black neighborhood in America (called the Black Wall Street), was attacked by mobs of white residents because a 19-year old black shoeshiner allegedly bumped into a 17-year old white elevator operator. More than 800 black people were admitted to the hospital, and 6,000 Greenwood families were displaced as white vigilantes deputized by law enforcement killed more than 300 hundred black people and destroyed more than 35 square blocks of Greenwood, some of it carried out by private aircraft. It is the worst single incident of racial violence in American history, and I suspect not one in ten Americans have ever heard of it.
What happened to George Floyd is not new. It as old as 250 years of slavery and the Jim Crow laws that sought to marginalize and shut out black Americans from American society.
As my wise friend reminded me, quoting James Baldwin, “Any real change implies the breaking of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.”
So, I have no words of comfort today because they would be inauthentic. They would absolve so many from coming to terms with their own silent complicity in the world in which we live.
As I wrote to someone today, “This is not a black problem, but a structural issue built on white supremacy and centuries of racism. It’s your problem. And until you understand that, we are doomed to relive this week’s tragic events over and over again. What changes will you make in your own life? Begin with answering that question and maybe, just maybe we will get somewhere.”
The most important question is: What are you going to do?
At an appropriate time, I will gather the community to talk about what I have written and what we might be able to do together to address racism in America, beginning first of all with an honest appraisal of ourselves.
Lee

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