(Washington, DC, May 29, 2020)-Our world is reckoning with a pandemic for which there is currently no cure. Already, COVID-19 has taken 100,000+ lives in the US and it has consumed millions more. We mourn for all who have been infected and affected by this crisis. In a very short time, the pandemic has shifted everyone’s reality and none of us will ever be the same. While COVID-19 has unleashed a threat on the health and economy of our nation, it has also revealed a pre-existing condition that places all of us at greater risk. The hierarchy of human value and to be more specific, RACISM, has served as an activator that has accelerated the loss of life and disproportionate losses to important populations in our country. Persons of color, who are in many cases, workers with low incomes and live in places that were already struggling are suffering great physical, economic, and social harm.
During this very trying era, we feel it is important to put a marker down, especially given the racially charged events that have played out in recent weeks and months. Murders in the African American community, attacks on Asian American owned businesses, increasing numbers of murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, and the marginalization and displacement of immigrants seeking refuge weigh on our already weakened hearts. Some actions are recorded and shared via social media allowing many to bear witness; while others remain unknown and unseen. While many have engaged in social media activism in response to the atrocities, we are calling for everyone to move beyond the keystrokes of media devices and to do more. It’s not enough to feign verbal and distant support for non-racist causes. We must move beyond that into constructive anti-racist action that might even cause us to have to sacrifice the comfort or advantage that some of us have. RACISM MUST END!
Currently there is no cure to the health pandemic nor the social pandemic. While we are one human family, both conditions aim to separate us, both aim to weaken us, both aim to dehumanize us and threaten our well-being. During this season of heightened social anxiety, Community Action affirms that our healing as a nation is tied to strengthening our connections as neighbors, family members, co-workers, and communities. Our values assert, “We believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect and recognize that structural race, gender and other inequities remain barriers that must be addressed.” If we truly believe this, we must live it.
We commit ourselves to the health and well-being of everyone and to problem-solving systems and structures that will dismantle disparities and social determinants.
Almost 56 years ago, Community Action was born as part of the civil rights movement, and we continue to denounce all forms of violence and any acts that dehumanize anyone. The words of the Community Action Promise articulate who we are and what we believe, “We care about the entire community”. And, in love and unity, we will interrupt the darkness of this time and will continue to “embody the spirit of hope”.
The National Community Action Partnership is the hub for the nation’s 1,000+ local Community Action Agencies that provide life changing services to individuals and families in 99% of America’s counties. The Partnership’s mission is to ensure the causes and conditions of poverty are effectively addressed and to strengthen, promote, represent and serve the Community Action Network.