June 1, 2020
As members of the NHA Board of Directors and Staff we are called to express our outrage and despair due to the violent and unnecessary deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, an aspiring electrician and a son, confronted and shot by two white men as he was jogging near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia; and Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician and a sister, who was shot eight times when her apartment was stormed unannounced by police in Louisville, Kentucky; and George Floyd, a father recently laid off from a security job at a night club due to the coronavirus, who was suffocated while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
We cannot stand idly by as our Black neighbors are targeted, threatened, harassed, and murdered. In solidarity we cry out “Black lives matter,” and we “take a knee” in silence.
The widespread outcry for justice over the past several days painfully reminds us that in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic, we face a much deeper and insidious pandemic within our country – racism.
Recognized by officials across the country, such as stated by officials in Franklin County, Ohio in a resolution adopted on May 20, 2020, racism is a public health crisis that has led to centuries of disparities in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system, as well as Covid-19 infections.
In addition to the recent violent deaths, since the declaration of the Covid-19 as a pandemic in March, Black, Latinx and Native communities are suffering infection and death at disproportionally high rates. And we stand with Asian American community members who are targets of heightened unjust prejudice and racial slurs.
We also recognize and condemn the ugly history of racism within our country and state in housing. We recognize that racism exists not just on an interpersonal level, but at the structural and systemic level as well, serving as the basis for American institutions of all kinds. In order to combat this discrimination that has been baked into the foundation of our society, we must actively work to ensure equitable outcomes across race and ethnicity by centering people of color in our work. In the words of Angela Davis, activist and author, “In a racist society, it’s not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
As members of the Board of Directors and Staff at NHA, we have the responsibility to examine ourselves as participants in the system as well as the system as a whole. We will work tirelessly and relentlessly, in honor of all those whose names we know, and in honor of many more whose names we do not know, who lost their lives to racism. We prioritize relationships and partnerships with people and organizations of communities of color. We will continue to learn from those who have been doing race equity work long before us, and we commit to listen when we fall short and need to be held accountable. This work will not be complete until we are an anti-racist organization, in an anti-racist community, in an anti-racist industry, in an anti-racist country.