Posts Tagged ‘Black Lives Matter’

In Support of Black Lives Matter

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

The events of the last few weeks have been heart wrenching. The horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Maurice Gordon are just some of the most recent individuals lost in a 400-year-long history of violence and brutality against Black Americans in this country. Three of those killings were at the hands of police officers sworn to protect all people, yet again illustrating the systemic and pervasive racism that is so deeply rooted in this country’s origins, institutions, policies and our own implicit bias. As these killings have shocked and angered us, we recognize this as a critical moment for HVCS to stand publically in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to demand and participate in the dismantling of structural oppression.

These recent killings come amid a pandemic that has further exposed the inequities that contribute to a higher burden of illness in communities of color. Because of our involvement in the fight against HIV, chronic health conditions and substance use disorder, HVCS has always been aware of the toll that systemic racism takes on the health outcomes of Black and Brown people.

It is not enough to be an ally in these times. We have an obligation to be actively anti-racist and take actions that will help move this society towards a more just, equitable and inclusive one. In the context of HVCS’ work, this means re-doubling our commitment to informing all of our decisions with a lens of racial justice and health equity.

May we all deepen our understanding and awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement and the systemic racism that affects all people of color. For the white people in our community, that means examining our privilege and implicit bias – to understand why we can exercise or enjoy public parks without looking over our shoulders or carrying the anxiety that we are subject to suspicion or violence. We must also understand why we don’t face an extra layer of worry or outright fear when we encounter police and other public safety personnel, if we go to them to ask, innocently, for assistance.

For all of us, it means working together to consciously dismantle racist systems and structures, to build health and racial equity in all aspects of our work, particularly disparate health outcomes, and to actively resist complacency about the biases that fuel violence, structural, systemic and personal, against Black people.

Hudson Valley Community Services