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A Message from the Center for Equity and Inclusion

Once again we are witnessing a collective response and demands for racial justice across the country. This time it is for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Three lives taken from us in senseless and horrific manners. Three lives that are part of a historic and persistent pattern of assault on Black and Brown bodies. Three lives lost as a result of anti-Blackness and white supremacy laying as the foundation of this country. We also want to acknowledge the additional trauma that stems from what we have been exposed to on TV and social media, what we have been collectively and individually digesting. There has been so much over the last few weeks; too much. And all of this taking place inside of a historic pandemic that has now taken over 100,000 lives in the United States; lives that are disproportionately Brown, Black and Native, and correlating economic disparities that are painfully falling along those same racial lines.   

We recognize in a country rooted in anti-Blackness, that our Black and African American communities are having an acutely painful experience. We want to express our most sincere note of solidarity, outrage, and commitment to our Black and African American communities. The current events and their coverage continue to remind us of the insidious nature of racism we are immersed in. The daily reminders of this country’s racial arrangement are already traumatizing. When we have weeks like the last few, we can only imagine the impact on our Black friends, family, colleagues and community. Please know we stand unequivocally with you in this struggle for justice. 

We don’t think one could be a healthy or normal human being and not feel a deep sense of pain, outrage, anger, exhaustion by what we have witnessed over the last few weeks. We know that those emotions are fueled by a consciousness that these recent events are part of what seems like a never-ending pattern of racial pathology in this country. This is: ONE. BIG. MESS. A mess that all of us are swimming in, whether we want to or not. 

We at CEI recognize that we hold a unique role; we are working everyday with individuals and organizations committed to racial equity. These relationships lend to a unique capacity to care, a unique capacity to resist, a unique capacity to re-imagine, and a unique capacity to continue to learn how to individually and collectively stay whole in times designed to break us into pieces. We are as resolved as ever to live into our mission of transformation and our commitment to racial justice, equity and inclusion starting with ourselves. For us this is an inside-out endeavor, one that calls us to put into practice internally what we are teaching externally. As a predominantly People of Color organization we are committed to a learning journey that positions us to be a model for what we are striving to cultivate in the world. We are calling on all of our partners to double down on this journey with us. 

It is during these times that the role and power of community shows itself. It is through community that we find space that can hold, heal, rejuvenate, and collectively resist. It is heartening to know that we are active in working together to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately create anew. We may be tired and exhausted, but let us be clear, we are far from giving in. We are resolved as ever to be in community amidst the unfolding of it all and forging a path through to something new. 

For our broader community, please take care of yourself and one another and know we stand in solidarity with you.

-Hanif Fazal 

CEO, Center for Equity and Inclusion