**This story was originally posted to wapartnership.org on June 2, 2020**
The Washington State Community Action Partnership believes Black Lives Matter and stands with those taking that message to the streets against a racist system of policing. The endless cycle of violence in our country, rooted in our original sin of slavery, must end. Washingtonians, especially White Washingtonians, must commit to unlearning Racism and dismantling White Supremacy in service of Racial Equity. Justice and peace will only come through our commitment to these principles and by following the leadership of Communities of Color. If we fail to take action rooted in this reality, then unrest and the despair of poverty will continue to fill the vacuum of moral leadership.
While this is far from a complete list, we say the names lost to racist policing and vigilante violence emboldened by Systemic Racism: George Floyd, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till. Our hearts go out to the families and communities whose grief can only be staunched with justice.
America has failed to confront Systemic Racism not because the solutions aren’t available to us. Black and other Communities of Color have raised the alarm against overinvestment in incarceration and militarized policing for decades. Elected leaders and advocates must embrace new perspectives and harness the will to radically redirect resources toward the real building blocks of equitable, thriving communities: housing, food security, health care, education, jobs, and more. Nothing short of this is necessary to end Racism and build community resilience against intergenerational poverty.
Furthermore, as the first state impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic, we recognize Systemic Racism has exacerbated the health crisis and contributed to unrest. Black, Latinx, and Native communities have gotten sicker and died at higher rates than White communities. Black unemployment in Washington was at least twice that of Whites before the Pandemic and all indications are that the gap is widening. Asian-American communities, especially Chinese American and East Asian peoples, have experienced racist violence and decreased patronage of their businesses.
Now more than ever, we are called back to the Promise of Community Action and our roots in the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty. We must redouble our efforts to embody the spirit of hope and care for our entire community. Now more than ever that means not just including but centering the voices and needs of Black communities and communities of color that have been left behind for too long. We believe change is possible and will work with all who share these values to make them a reality in every corner of Washington.
WSCAP stands with #BlackLivesMatter