We say their names: George Floyd; Breonna Taylor; Tony McDade; David McAtee; Ahmaud Arbery. Countless others. Too many others.
Words fail us in expressing our outrage, our grief, and our frustration. We’ve witnessed the continued horror of racism across the country as Black and Brown people face multiple health crises simultaneously: the coronavirus pandemic, police brutality, and outright murder. This horror is not new. It has existed for centuries in a society that allows it to permeate.
As advocates for social change, we must do our part. We promise to push back against racism, anti-blackness, oppression, and police violence. We know that we won’t have all the answers. We know we have made missteps along the way. But we will keep trying to interrupt white supremacy—today, tomorrow, and every day in the future. We will work to elevate Black and Brown voices and experiences as we offer support, love, and light to people of color working within Iowa’s victim service programs. We know you are hurting right now. We see you, and we’re here for you should you need it.
As a coalition, it’s our job to ask hard questions and to move people to think about difficult issues in different and challenging ways. It’s time to assess our own biases and the issues and people we say we prioritize in partnerships, training, policies, and the services we provide. Whose needs and experiences are we centering, and why? Who is left out, and why? What are we doing to ensure that Black and Brown people are valued and protected? What will we do differently to create equity, inclusion, and liberation for all?
In order to create change, we must sit with these questions and acknowledge the uncomfortable truths that may come to light. We humbly recognize that this alone is not enough. This is the first step among many left to be taken. But we make the commitment to do better, and to be accountable to ourselves, our Black and Brown colleagues, and our communities.
We join in solidarity with other community members and organizations doing this critical work to tear down white supremacy and institutionalized racism in our law enforcement, in our schools, in our prisons, in our hospitals, on our streets, and everywhere else it thrives. Please reach out to us with your thoughts and ideas about how we can collaborate with one another by emailing email@example.com.
For those of you who wish to take action, here are some steps you can take right now:
The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Photo credit: RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII/ASSOCIATED PRESS