George Floyd died at the hands of a veteran police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25th of this year. We, like much of the world, were shocked and saddened at the racism, brutality, and complete senselessness of this tragic incident.
Today our city, region, and nation are sharing expressions of sorrow, pain, anger, and grief in protest. We need to speak out, too, to honor the memory of Black Americans whose lives were taken away too soon, and to take active steps to challenge systemic inequity and injustice.
The staff and leadership of Food Lifeline feel it is important for all of us to seek to understand the rage embedded in the people who are protesting. We will continue to focus on the cause of the protests, the righteous and appropriate outrage, the grief over loss, and anguish over oppression.
We will not stand with those whose concern is focused on the destruction and loss of property, instead of being focused on the anger and grief for the lives of Black fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, wives, and husbands lost too early due to violence and brutality.
Racism in the United States has been used since the time white people first arrived, building systems, policies, laws, rules, practices, and norms that continue to benefit people who are white while leaving behind and leaving out people of color. Every system of our society – education, politics, justice, housing, banking, employment, even our food system – all are built upon and uphold systemic racism.
As an organization, Food Lifeline will continue to advance equity and inclusion throughout all areas of our mission. We will:
- Work with our board to finalize and share our equity statement, ensuring that our commitment to equity and inclusion are core to our mission. Our Board of Directors recently approved a new policy requiring our organization to regularly conduct an Equity Assessment, and have approved a new definition of Food Lifeline’s owners as “All those people in western Washington facing hunger, especially those people and communities disproportionately impacted by hunger.”
- Continue and expand the use of an Equity Filter as a tool for us all to use in our day-to-day work.
- Support our Equity Team to bring the curriculum and tools we’ve developed to all teams across the organization so that we all learn to effectively and actively engage in anti-racist practices.
- Continue to work to ensure our public messaging and communications are aligned and deeply integrated with our equity commitment.
As a food bank, we are very familiar with the ongoing systemic inequities that cause Black people in all counties and states of our country to be overrepresented in regards to hunger and poverty – both in the generations of people alive today and quite literally all of the generations who came before them. Our acknowledgment of this reality is one of the many reasons why our equity mission is so important.
Even during a pandemic, the need for us all to join together is resounding.
Food Lifeline supports communities protesting violence and demanding justice.
There is power in united action, and an opportunity to make our voices heard. Food Lifeline will continue to follow and learn from the organizations and movements leading this work, and identify those collective and individual actions we can take to advance anti-racist work to build a brighter future that works – with justice and equity – for all of us, together.
Thank you all,
President & CEO