The San Francisco Latino Parity and Equity Coalition abhors the structural inequities that fuel overt racist crimes committed against our black community for decades, as highlighted by the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. This systemic racism was conceived with the theft of stolen land and the rape of its people centuries ago. It was born in 1619 when human beings were stolen from their homeland and forced into the servitude that built this country. It grew up and matured in Jim Crow, unkept promises, and the destruction of black centers of prosperity such as Black Wall Street. While some progress has been made in the decades since the Civil Rights’ Movement, the embers of hate still burn.
We are overwhelmed with grief and outrage.
All of this is happening while we are in the middle of a global pandemic that is disproportionately harming Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, while blaming Asian Americans who experience an increase of racist acts against them. Racism is the pandemic. We recognize the same racist dynamics that led to these killings are what drive untold numbers through the prison pipeline and change life course. These past three years, state sanctioned hatred spewed by our country’s leadership has been demonstrated through the separating of families at the border and isolating our immigrant children in cages; the deaths of unarmed black and brown men and women at the hands of police or so-called vigilantes; and constant micro-aggressions and racial biases. We have come to an unparalleled moment of definition as a country. There is no middle ground for us to seek, or cower for refuge.
We stand in solidarity with our black employees, families, and community members by saying, without equivocation, that BLACK LIVES MATTER! We grieve with all of the families touched by these acts of hate and all of the lives recent events have touched. Through our work, every day, we create the opportunities for our children, families, youth, and seniors to lead empowered lives, and work to abolish the prison pipeline by elevating our POC (people of color) strength and resilience through an amplified asset-based framework. At this moment, we recommit as allies in this fight for justice.
We fully support the protests occurring across our nation by lifting our fists in unity to say BLACK LIVES MATTER! We join people from across the spectrum rising together in one voice.
We refuse to be complicit and understand it is our duty to intentionally support and work with our black brothers and sisters facing the injustices of the world in which we live.
We will continue to advocate for political and social change – working closely with black leaders and organizations in the spirit of black and brown unity- when they are free; we all are.
We recognize as a POC-led agency, we should do better. We commit to looking introspectively and fighting anti-blackness and implicit bias through education for staff and Board training.
We will continue to call out racist systems and educating government on how they also can begin to dismantle racism within their funding models.
We recommit our goal of empowering youth and families to be agents of change; giving them, the tools and opportunities needed to advocate for themselves and be leaders within their communities - continuing to develop our community workforce and capacity building programs and hiring from the communities we invest in whenever we can.
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced” - James Baldwin
Today more than ever, we put forth a call to action. Together we must face these injustices; we must rise up to fight. The time is NOW, for true change it takes us all. We have much work ahead, and we are proud of our staff and community that demonstrate a true commitment to change.
Santiago "Sam" Ruiz, CEO - Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.
(SFLPEC Lead Agency)