There is so much raw pain at this moment that is also filled with promise.
|Black Lives Matter Protest, Novato, CA (Credit: Maya G Photography)|
As we talk to national groups and leaders and think about the role NIOT can play in supporting local action, we are all struggling to address the collective trauma that has been laid bare in this transformative national and global moment. The murders of Black people by police with impunity, practiced since the founding of our country, is facing a twenty first century reckoning. I know you all understand this, but how can we foreground LISTENING coupled with ACTION?
Many people in our communities who have never faced the harm of hate, racism and bigotry are now listening to their neighbors who experience it every day and are ready to do something about it. Not everyone is going to agree about all action steps, but there are some major breakthroughs in reaching consensus including plans, legislation and actions to end systemic racism and change the law and practice on use of force, accountability and transparency by police.
Local communities can play a tremendous role in facilitating this groundbreaking change. Thousands of communities are mobilizing to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. Here are some short videos we've produced about what's happening on the ground.
We've been asked many times about NIOT and the BLM call to Defund the Police. What does this mean in your community? How can we Reimagine Public Safety? This is a moment to re-examining what SAFE means.
What does it mean to have a safe inclusive community when we have significant health, income and housing disparities when systemic racism and white supremacy is baked into our history and institutions?
These are issues that need immediate and long term attention, but we can start with basic questions:
How can we make sure all students feel safe from hate, bullying, and racism when they come to school? How can all members of the community address the microaggressions that people of color and LGBTQ people experience every single day? Do people of color in our town feel safe with their neighbors and when they walk into stores or restaurants? How can each of us find a way to speak up in our schools, community, and workplaces about the way systemic racism operates in day to day interactions?
How can NIOT help engage your community on areas where you can achieve change? How can LISTENING to the experience of people of color in the community help guide next steps?
Thanks for listening. We can't wait to hear from you.
Feature photos from the Novato-Not In Our Town / Black Lives Matter March, Credit: Maya G Photography