This has been an incredibly challenging and emotional time for our country and our world. Last week, our nation saw, yet again, video footage of a gruesome and traumatic murder of an unarmed Black man.
The life of Ahmaud Arbery was taken when he went on his neighborhood jog. Two vigilante community members assumed he was a suspect for a burglary and shot and killed him. His crime? Being a Black man going on a run in this country.
I have been following this story with grief for his family and community. I am outraged and devastated. I know that the way I experience this tragedy as a White woman is different from the experience of our Black and Brown staff, young people, and community members. I can’t imagine the fear, anger, and injustice the must feel every time they step outside. I am sorry and saddened by this reality.
As I learned about this story, I was struck by how the life of this young man was reduced to othering: “What is he doing here?” “He must be trouble, must be up to no good.” I challenge each of us to recognize our biases, reflect on the invasive nature of privilege, and think about how we “other” people— especially during this crisis. We must all do better.
I know we are all firing on all cylinders to make it through this pandemic. Some from fear, some from personal challenges, and some from the everyday pain of institutional racism. Let’s stand up against racism and support our Black and Brown community, and let’s honor one another in this heartbreaking moment.
With appreciation and solidarity,
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” — Dr. Angela Davis, civil rights activist