Standing in Solidarity: Pause, Listen, Understand, Act
The Pathfinder Network unequivocally rejects all forms of racism, violence, hate, abuse and bias against our Black and African American brothers, sisters and non-binary loved ones who we know are most impacted right now. We remember the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade in acts of police brutality and misconduct and acknowledge how they are impacting every Black and African American person in this country.
In support of our Black and African American community members, we want to pause, listen, stand with and amplify their voices and needs right now.
On Friday we held an agency-wide listening session honoring and centering our Black and African American staff, a space for those most impacted to share and for others to listen. We also hosted an anonymous survey for our Black and African American staff to share what they need from the agency and their peers. Something that is clear: we have to do better NOW.
As an organization working within and in response to the criminal justice system, we must speak out against police brutality, and the systemic racism that continues to oppress, marginalize, and commit violence and injustice against our Black and Brown community members. We recognize that despite our best intentions we have been complicit in allowing systems of oppression to harm and disenfranchise Black and African American people. We are committed to owning our impact and addressing our agency’s perpetuation of white-dominant culture that upholds systems of white supremacy.
We are committed to holding ourselves accountable and are calling on our local, state and national leaders to do the same. We are demanding broad change and system reform, not just at the policing level but also throughout the system including sentencing, incarceration, and parole and probation.
We are taking time with our families and friends, in our staff meetings, in our board meetings, and in our places of community, to pause, listen, and understand. We are holding space to listen and learn and center the voices of those among us that are most impacted.
We commit to truly recognizing the impact systemic and institutionalized racism has on the lives of the justice-system impacted individuals and families we serve, as well as on the Black and Brown staff who work in our community. We stand in solidarity.
We will continue to listen to our Black and African American staff. We will share the steps our agency is taking and opportunities for our community to stand with us. We will amplify the voices and work of partner organizations fighting for racial justice and criminal justice reform and we will demand action from our representatives. We will engage whenever possible in the dismantling of racism and white supremacy both within our organization and in our work in the criminal justice system.
This is how we are walking forward together, and we are asking our community to join us. We need to hear when people say they can’t breathe. We need to hear and act.
The Pathfinder Network
Photo credit: blacklivesmatter.com