Like many institutions today, we at Project Access NOW, are reflecting on one year in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The last 365 days have seen marches, protests, advocacy, prayer, anger, sadness, and union. We have drawn closer than ever before to recognizing America’s history of inequality and systemic racism. We have grown to learn more about the structural violence playing out against African Americans and other communities of color as a result of unjust policing.
Today is a moment of inflection. A chance to step back and reflect on the fact that what we face is greater than one guilty verdict or one institution looking at its discriminatory practices in depth. NY Times writer Nicolas Kristof noted: “Even if Floyd hadn’t been murdered, he still very likely would have died prematurely because of his race…The average Black man in America lives five fewer years than the average White man, and Black male babies born in DC have shorter life expectancies than male babies born in India.”
Today is a moment to reflect on the statements we have made, the plans we have developed, the partners we have reached out to. It is also time to look ahead to the work that’s only just begun. We must continue our focus on eliminating racial inequities not only in justice, but in health care access, livable wages, housing and equitable education opportunities.
At Project Access NOW we reaffirm our commitments as we reflect:
- We will resource and hire to support a diversity, equity, and inclusion focus, adapting our internal policies and procedures.
- We will have honest discussions about racism and white supremacy, and seek to understand our collective and individual parts/roles in these systems as we work to dismantle them.
- We will use data to inform our programmatic decisions and to drive racial equity-driven decision making.
- We will continue to design and implement programs that support Black voices which have historically been silenced.
- We will build a strategic vision inclusive of racial equity markers and metrics to hold ourselves, as an organization, more accountable.
- We will partner with other community organizations to advocate for broader policy changes that improve opportunities for those made most vulnerable.
Carly Hood-Ronick, Executive Director Jennie Leslie, Board Chair