We would like to acknowledge the impact of COVID19 on Black and Brown lives, the ongoing profiling and harassment of people of color, and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Each one of them belonged to their own loved ones, their own families, their own communities, and their lives mattered.
We particularly want to call attention to the police murder of George Floyd and police violence targeting protesters in Minneapolis, where we were to hold this year’s conference- and where many near and dear to our IARSLCE family live and work. We want to lift up the work being done on the ground in this community, including that of the Black Visions Collective, whose mission is to work for a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are all in right relationship within our ecosystems. Another organization there, Reclaim the Block, is organizing around access to housing, youth services, harm reduction, and protections for low-wage workers to help keep their communities safe and stable. They state, “For too long, our city has not prioritized the safety of our most marginalized community members: Black, indigenous, and people of color; immigrants; and LGBTQ community members. Instead, the city has continued to invest in policing, a system making the problem worse.” This isn’t just true in Minneapolis, but across our country and in many cases and in different forms, our world.
There is an important role for our field and our organization to play in creating more just communities and a more equitable world, and so we ask each of you to reflect on the following questions for a moment: what do you want people to know and do right now? What kind of change do you want to see in the world? What is our role in making that change?
We welcome your thoughts. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback.