The recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has highlighted the history of police violence in the United States and the violent, oppressive systems built and sustained by a lie for over 400 years. We celebrate the hundreds of protests that have challenged police violence and systemic racism, and we know there is a lot of work to do to combat these deeply entrenched systems.
What we’ve been trying to build in Cleveland through Neighbor Up — a diverse group of people sharing power, building trust and acting together — gives us hope. Not a naive hope but the kind of hope that exists on the other side of despair, frustration and anger. Neighbor Up members are an amazing group of people working to make this community a better place, focusing on both LOVE and POWER, with racial and economic justice as central tenets of our work.
While our work together is much needed during this critical time, we are pausing right now. We are taking some time to reflect and discern where we go from here, individually and collectively. Our original plans for this week have been adapted or postponed. We cannot go forward with business as usual.
“If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice”-bell hooks
While we are paused, we are asking our white members and friends to:
- Do some soul searching on how the system of white privilege needs to change and examine your role in it.
- Ask yourself, “How does white privilege negatively affect me?” and discuss this with family or friends.
- Before you send that next email, text, or plan, check yourself and ask: “Is this really necessary right now?” People are grieving, shaken, and need time to process. Would it be better to check in with someone and have a conversation rather than conducting business as usual?
- Take a look at the work you are doing with Neighbor Up and ask yourself our equity prime questions:
- How are my biases showing up in this work? In my life?
- How is my privilege showing up in this work? How are the dynamics of power and privilege operating between me, my colleagues of color, and network members of color in this work and in this community right now?
- How am I/we making space for shared power and authenticity by investing in the gifts, knowledge and skills of people who have been marginalized in my work? In my life?
- Get ready to gear up. White people need to use their energy, resources, and privilege to change this system in big ways.
To our African-American, black, and Latinx friends:
- Know that Neighbor Up is with you in solidarity.
- Know that we recommit to do more, and be more effective, in the continuing fight for racial and economic justice, truth and reconciliation.