The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others. --Julian Bond (1940-2015), American civil rights leader and social activist
Dear Friends in Community,
It is a divisive time in our country—a time when fear runs high not just due to the coronavirus pandemic, but also due to the injustices the Black community faces daily. Black lives matter.
Here at VIC-Valley InterCommunity Council, we are especially heartbroken because we work so hard to create a community of inclusivity for all who walk through our doors. We are a diverse community made stronger because of our fabric of differences. In this moment we suffer from sorrow and frustration.
The protests that have erupted across the country are deeply rooted in pain born from generations of discrimination and violence against Black people. Despite the many deaths that preceded George Floyd’s—deaths like those of Rayshard Brooks, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor and others—egregious outbursts against Black people continue.
And while outrage and protests are understood and warranted, it is unacceptable to see places of worship, government buildings and private businesses vandalized, even destroyed. The looting, arson and destruction obscure the message of diverse protesters of every walk of life who are standing up for justice, fairness and community. Instead, we need to direct all our outrage, energy and resources into establishing real change—collective, transformative, lasting change.
We have a hard road ahead of us, but we can no longer turn a blind eye to racism. We must work together to make our voices heard, to press Congress, state and local legislatures to pass laws that stop systemic racism and reform our justice system.
We each have a civic duty to make our voices heard not only in the streets, but at the ballot box. We urge you to do your part to end violence and discrimination against our Black brothers and sisters. We urge you to stand up for change.
Standing with you,
Patrick Nichelson, VIC Board Chair Beverly Ventriss, VIC President / CEO