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Our Commitment to Black Lives

These past two weeks have been exceptionally difficult. We know we are not alone when we say that our nation has failed the Black community, and many of us have played a role in that failure.

George Floyd was tragically murdered at the hands of four police officers who belong to a system of historically excessive police violence against Black bodies. With every tragedy, we are painfully reminded that this is far from being the first case of police brutality against the Black community. Names that we will never forget: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Emmitt Till and so many others--named and unnamed--remind us that there is still so much work to be done.

The tragic violence against so many Black bodies in this nation is a direct consequence of our history of unchecked blatant and systemic racism. It is also a direct product of the complicity of non-Black communities and non-Black Arab communities. The Arab American community must do better, and as difficult as it is to look inward, we know that difficulty and discomfort amounts to nothing when compared to the difficulty of being Black in America and around the world. We also know that nothing will change without our collective action.

In the midst of our outrage over this violence, we must be adamant that there is no such thing as neutrality when it comes to confronting white supremacy. It is without question what protestors everywhere across the nation are fighting for and that is the belief that George Floyd should still be alive today.

As an organization rooted in our vision of justice and equity, we are listening, learning, and taking a hard look at ourselves both internally and externally. In our efforts to continue learning, we know we are also positioned to take action and lead by example. This is why we have committed to the following:

  • We are committed to being an ally to the Black community; to listening, learning and engaging in impactful ways. We pledge to be more vocal and active in the efforts to confront injustice and condemn police brutality. In line with that commitment, we will be sharing information and resources so that our audiences can also listen and learn.
  • Our national Campaign to TAKE ON HATE is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with protestors everywhere in demanding justice and police accountability, and we encourage individuals to join us. We will be hosting two events this week around anti-Blackness and health equity. RSVP for events being held on Tuesday and Wednesday. We have several more upcoming events addressing anti-Blackness in our community. The campaign has also joined the Arab for Black Lives collective, visit this site to learn more. For more information and to learn about upcoming programming, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • ACCESS, in partnership with our Arab American National Museum and TAKE ON HATE, is hosting a fundraiser to support The National Bail Project. To donate, click here.
  • We are working closely with our partner, The Center for Equity and Inclusion to ensure that we are upholding equitable employment practices, supporting the health and well-being of our staff and are exploring ways to restore their physical, psychological, and emotional health so that they in turn can best support those we serve.
  • In addition, we are doubling down on our efforts to expand and strengthen our Equity and Inclusion committee, comprised and led by our own staff.
  • Through our National Network for Arab American Communities, we are creating toolkits and resources to support Arab American nonprofits across the nation who are working towards racial justice in a coordinated and meaningful way.
  • ACCESS and its Arab American National Museum have invested resources into advancing our equity and inclusion work and enhancing our cultural competency trainings to be more robust and even more focused on anti-racism.
  • We are committed to enhancing representation of both Arab and non-Arab Black voices throughout our projects and programming.

We understand that there is more to learn, and we are committed to the continued engagement and conversation. We invite and welcome your feedback on ways that we can continue to do better.

Resources

“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth” from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture 

“Juneteenth Is Finally Entering the Mainstream American Consciousness. Now Make It An Official Federal Holiday” from The Root 

Anti-Racism Resources for White People

“The Grio Presents: What is Juneteenth?” from The Grio 

“What is Juneteenth” from PBS 

“So You Want To Learn More About Juneteenth?” from the New York Times 

“Teaching Juneteenth” from Teaching Tolerance 

"What is Juneteenth?" scene from the television show black-ish

Sixnineteen - A national day of protest led by the Movement 4 Black Lives

Petition to Make Juneteenth a National Holiday from Black Lives Matter 

“9 Books to Celebrate the Spirit of Juneteenth” from Essence Magazine

“60+ Resources for Talking to Kids About Racism” from Bounce Back Parenting 

“We’re Different, We’re the Same” from Sesame Street 

"Confronting Anti-Blackness: A Reading List for Ages 0 -18" from The Conscious Kid

"20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace, & Do Good" from EmbraceRace