Early last week, Baltimore and the nation were shaken by the tragic murder of George Floyd. His family remain in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.
In these days following George’s death, Baltimoreans and the nation are grappling with the news and calls for justice. We recognize the pain, fear, anger, and hopelessness many are experiencing right now. Strong City Baltimore staff gathered to process and share with each other. We discussed racism, fears for our families and friends, and questions about how to show up.
We not only grieve for George Floyd, but remember Freddie Gray, Tyrone West, and the many other people of color who are victims of institutional racism and brutality, and have lost their lives prematurely.
We join the call to peacefully organize and demonstrate, support Black-led organizations working to address systemic racism, and the civic engagement of everyone by voting and completing the 2020 Census.
The voices and leadership of Black people, indigenous people, and other people of color must be centered and respected in conversations and actions against systemic oppression. We must redouble our efforts to achieve racial justice.
While our city and the country are responding in this moment, it is important to think about the future and how we will collectively strengthen and empower community leaders once the protests subside. To truly support community leadership, we must recognize that racism is present every day in Baltimore and across this country.
Strong City Baltimore has been building and strengthening neighborhoods and people by enhancing the capacity of residents and social change makers to improve their communities for over 50 years. We are proud to continue to serve our direct programs and fiscally sponsored projects who are working to overcome and heal the wounds of oppression across many sectors. We are examining the inner workings of our organization so that we can recognize and counter oppressive culture and systems.
Dismantling systemic oppression will not be the work of one leader or one well-organized group. It is going to take our full, collective effort.
Yours in solidarity,
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Chair, Strong City Board of Directors