Our Statement on George Floyd’s Death, Nationwide Protests and the Work Ahead

Posted June 5, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Protests against George Floyd’s Death with photo provided by Julian Wan on Unsplash

The death of George Floyd — and far too many souls before him — is a dev­as­tat­ing reminder that Amer­i­ca is not a land of lib­er­ty and jus­tice for all. Even in 2020, the col­or of one’s skin still dic­tates one’s des­tiny. Time and again, the actions of the peo­ple and sys­tems whose aim should be to pro­tect and serve our com­mu­ni­ties reflect the deeply held, per­ni­cious beliefs and behav­iors that were inten­tion­al­ly woven into the fab­ric of our nation from its ear­li­est days. This dis­crim­i­na­tion and bias have robbed count­less black men, women and chil­dren of their hopes, dreams, health and very lives.

Tear­ing down these and oth­er obsta­cles that stand in the way of America’s chil­dren and youth of col­or is cen­tral to the mis­sion of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. We can­not cre­ate the brighter future we envi­sion for all chil­dren if we do not ensure every young per­son — black, brown and any oth­er col­or — has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to real­ize his or her full poten­tial. And that requires dis­man­tling the bar­ri­ers and trans­form­ing the very sys­tems, poli­cies and prac­tices that per­pet­u­ate dis­crim­i­na­tion, lead­ing to the same trag­ic out­comes we’ve wit­nessed most recent­ly in Min­neapo­lis, as well as in Fer­gu­son, our home­town of Bal­ti­more and oth­er com­mu­ni­ties across the nation.

We must be relent­less in our pur­suit of this goal. We must advo­cate for sys­temic change, show­ing what can be accom­plished — in pub­lic sys­tems and insti­tu­tions, as well as our own orga­ni­za­tions — when we make an inten­tion­al, con­cert­ed effort to address racial inequities and chal­lenge our lead­ers and our­selves to be and do better.

The Foun­da­tion has long been part of this strug­gle to achieve equi­ty, togeth­er with part­ners all over the coun­try, and we remain com­mit­ted to this hard but absolute­ly essen­tial work. Now is not the time to give up but to press for­ward. We must chan­nel our feel­ings — out­rage, grief, hope — into action, and we encour­age and invite oth­ers to join us.

Across the world, we already see that action in the form of peace­ful protests against police bru­tal­i­ty, call­ing out injus­tice. For our part, action means con­tin­u­ing to use data and tar­get­ed strate­gies to dri­ve change. It means engag­ing, equip­ping and ele­vat­ing the voic­es of mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. And it means doing every­thing we can to help trans­form our nation into a place where every child and indi­vid­ual have the free­dom to belong, to live with­out the dai­ly threat of fear and vio­lence and to walk in the world with dig­ni­ty and respect.

We know that the Foun­da­tion alone can­not trans­form sys­tems and com­mu­ni­ties. To empow­er pol­i­cy­mak­ers, com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers and prac­ti­tion­ers to advance equi­ty in their own work, we have made our lessons avail­able for all.

Access Casey’s Racial Equi­ty Resources

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