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We Stand Against Racism, Together in Kinship

We are deeply troubled by the recent events leading to our country’s current civil unrest. As a community, we are grieving. We are hurting. We are tired.

As an organization founded to address the racial disparities present in child welfare—black and brown children and families enter the system at a much higher rate than their white counterparts—we echo this sentiment and advocate for our country’s most vulnerable populations. We have always addressed racism, unapologetically.  

Participants in the Black Lives Matter DC rolling protest arrive on Maine Ave., May 30. (The Washingtonian)

We take action. We stand firm in ASCI’s values of conviction, dignity, respect and honesty, and have an obligation to speak up and fight for fundamental human rights for all. We do not accept the systemic racism that plagues our country’s deep-end systems: criminal and juvenile justice, child welfare, physical and mental health care, homelessness and more. We do not accept police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men and women. We do not accept injustice. 

Every day, we work hard to ensure all children and families have an opportunity to thrive together. We not only value and embrace diversity, equity and inclusion as core tenets of social justice, but also put these principles into practice and work to serve all families based on their individual needs. Thus, we recognize hat our African-American families are in crisis amid a crisis.

It is our duty as a nation to stand for social justice and equal opportunity for all people. ASCI remains dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of our children, families and employees during this uncertain time. While we are so proud of the unity our staff and families continue to display, we remain sensitive to their needs and will continue providing internal and external supports that foster emotional healing and listening. 

We believe in the power of kinship. So, today and every day, we stand in solidarity with our black sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, grandmothers and grandfathers. We stand with our black friends and neighbors. We stand with our black colleagues and leaders. Because their lives matter. Because families cannot thrive or be whole if even one member is suffering. Because our children deserve safety and security. Because they deserve to be proud to call America home, too. But most importantly, they deserve to live, without fear of being discriminated against, imprisoned, harmed or killed for the color of their skin. 

We must continue to use our voices to call attention to the systemic racism that has plagued our nation for generations. We must repeat the names of this plague’s victims to honor their memory and to keep our fight for justice and change alive. Close your eyes, and say their names aloud.

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Sean Reed. Ahmaud Arbery. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Emmett Till. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Walter Scott. Oscar Grant. Keith Scott. Terrell Thomas. Randy Evans. Clifford Glover. Yvonne Smallwood. Tanisha Anderson. Freddie Gray. Sam Dubose. Terence Crutcher. Jamar Clark. Jeremy McDole. William Chapman II. Eric Harris. Akai Gurley. Michael Brown. Laquan McDonald. Stephon Clark. Botham Jean. And countless more of our black brothers and sisters.

We weep with their families and kin, and with all our people.

We must all continue to challenge these systems and stand together to end cycles of oppression and separation, in order to rewrite our story into one of peace and unity. Let us give our children this new story to tell. 

Be safe, speak out and continue to find comfort together in kinship.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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