Solidarity, support, and commitment to act

By ana-maria

To our cherished PNA community,

One week ago, George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, MN. The Phinney Neighborhood Association wants to acknowledge, affirm, and support members of the Black community in their anguish, anger, weariness, and trauma over such state-sanctioned violence against Mr. Floyd and countless others, like Said Joquin who was killed on May 1 in Lakewood, WA in his car–with his hands up–by police who pulled him over for running a stop sign.

These are merely some of the horrifying examples of Black people being killed because they are Black; while we now have more footage, these heinous acts have been ongoing for hundreds of years. We are heartbroken, we hear and see you, and we stand with you in solidarity against anti-Black violence and all forms of racism.

Police violence against the backdrop of the COVID19 pandemic–hitting the Black community harder than any other community as a result of the racial inequity that pervades our society–has inspired thousands to the streets to demand justice.

We at the PNA strongly condemn racism in all its forms and support those who are raising their voices for racial justice, whether it’s to condemn anti-Black violence, fight discrimination against people of Chinese/Asian descent, protect and support those affected by malicious nationalistic policies, or beyond. We must use our privilege to uplift, support, and engage in this work, recognizing that without justice there will never be peace.

The PNA also understands that, as a community and an organization, we must have the courage to not only make a public statement but to take a deep and unflinching look at our own biases, behaviors, policies, and procedures.

We must understand the pervasive effect of racism in the ways we treat each other; our decision-making on everything from facilities to events to staffing; our communications, volunteer engagement, fundraising–everything. Because racism is not the act of one person but a whole system of conscious and unconscious decisions, one we didn’t choose but one we are enacting every day. This is a harrowing truth and a call to act. Recognizing that we will make mistakes, we must nonetheless not use that as an excuse. Antiracism is our work to do.

In 2018, building on years of previous work, the PNA began a formal initiative developing a lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion for our organization. Going forward, PNA Board and staff will be working with the leaders of our Breaking White Silence Project to further educate ourselves on white supremacy and systems of oppression and their impacts on our mission, organization, and community.

As we strengthen our awareness and skills in addressing racism, we expect both deep learning and concrete, operational opportunities to move the PNA toward justice. We commit to including and updating our community as we continue this work. We are not sure where this will lead us, what our path toward a more just organization may entail or ask of us–as individuals or as an organization. We expect to stumble and recognize that the work will never be done. But our mission–to build, engage, and support our diverse community through programs, services, and activities that connect neighbors and foster civic engagement–demands nothing less.

We look forward to engaging with you, our community, in this commitment.

Sincerely,

The Phinney Neighborhood Association Board and staff