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