“Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we – and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others – do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.”
The Fire Next Time, 1963
Pain, frustration, disbelief, anxiety, exhaustion, fear, anger—each of us has likely experienced some of these emotions and then some as we have witnessed the events unfolding across our country. Those of us who work for social justice have believed we were rolling the boulder up the mountain, only to wake up and find so little discernible forward progress. We despair, we repair, then it happens again.
We mourn for Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and the countless others that came before them. We are outraged by the violent response to peaceful protesters in our cities. As American myths are ripped away the darker reality of long-standing racial oppression, disregard for black lives, and the well documented consequences of militarizing police forces are revealed for all to see.
For too long, we have seen the long shadow of our nation’s racist legacies perpetuate an unequal America. We see it every day in our work to counter the effects of redlining, segregation and discrimination.
At Reinvestment Fund, we know that we must do more. It’s not enough to call out the systemic racism evident in policing or healthcare or politics. It’s not enough to lament the injustice.
If we want to change what we are witnessing, we need action. What matters most now is what we choose to do. And at Reinvestment Fund, we choose:
- To stand with people of color, fighting for justice and freedom from oppression
- To expand the focus of racial equity in our work by continuing to examine and address the systemic causes of inequities in our society
- To see more clearly when we are participating in racist systems and structures and practices and call it out and change it
- To be anti-racists, committed to actively fighting racism and bigotry
We know our path will be complicated but we are clear that dismantling the very systems and policies that keep oppression alive, is necessary and urgent. We urge you to join us on this journey and take action. We can and must do better.
For simple actions you can take:
- Educate yourself on issues of racial justice and systemic racism. Some suggestions:
- Engage with and donate to organizations that advance equity and fight racism such as the local Black Lives Matter Chapter, the NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center, United Negro College Fund, Black Youth Project 100, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Equal Justice Initiativeand Color of Change.
- Also consider some our partners and borrowers including BUILD, Center for Civic Innovation, Leona Tate Foundation for Change, People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, Louisville Urban League, Fisk University, Talladega College, Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, and Tila Studios.
- Buy from black businesses such as WeBuyBlack and businesses on the Official Black Wall Street.
- Support efforts to encourage reform such as Color of Change—Sign a Petition to End Violent Policing Against Black People, Official George Floyd Memorial Fund and the Nationwide Bail Fund.
- Start a conversation. Systemic racism is real and we all need to be fighting to end it. Put your anti-racism into practice by talking to friends, siblings or colleagues, especially whose words or actions advance racism.