Over the past few days, our nation has been witnessing a call to action from powerful protests which demand establishing value for Black people in our country. This moment challenges all of us to ask hard and painful questions about the roots of racist violence against Black communities.   

This process must first acknowledge a few key facts:
1) Racism against Black Americans didn’t start in this decade and has a deep history in the United States.
2) Racism pervades every aspect of our culture – even when we think it doesn’t.
3) Racism is a result of individual, collective and systemic actions.

We uplift the names of four Black people who have died in high-profile killings since February 2020:

  • May 29: Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was shot to death by police in Tallahassee, Florida.
  • May 25: George Floyd was violently detained as a Minneapolis Police officer pinned him down with his knee for over 8 minutes. George was declared dead within the hour.
  • March 13: Breonna Taylor was killed in her own bed by Louisville Metro Police after they mistakenly entered her apartment with no notice, searching for a suspect that had already been detained.
  • February 23: Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two white men while he was jogging through his community in southwestern Georgia. The white men reportedly found Ahmaud to be suspicious and assumed he was connected to recent robberies.

All of us at CCEJ have been feeling a range of emotions. During this intense time, we are committed to our mission of eliminating bias, bigotry and racism through education, conflict resolution and advocacy.

Since 1963, CCEJ has done the hard work of moving through conflict and hopelessness. We invite you to join us in building community, re-building trust, and taking action for justice.

In the coming days, CCEJ will be hosting community dialogues to help people process the feelings and questions you are experiencing. It is our hope that by inviting all of our community into dialogue, we will be able to have a true reckoning with the harsh legacies and current realities of anti-Black racism in the United States.

I invite you to join us in dialogue, take action, lean into hope, and to affirm that now and forever, Black Lives Matter.

Reena Hajat Carroll, MSW
Executive Director
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