Why HAND Chose to Place Racial Equity at the Center of Our Work

June 4, 2020
June 4, 2020

Without equivocation, HAND’s Board of Directors & Staff decries the manifestations of white supremacy and systemic racism upon which this country was founded and prevails today. Black lives matter. We say the names of our brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short in senseless brutality. We stand with their families in solidarity and affirm our commitment to remain dogged in our pursuit for justice.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Philando Castile. Freddie Gray. Michael Brown. Korryn Gaines. Alton Sterling. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Shantel Davis. Trayvon Martin. Botham Jean. Their lives matter. Yet, there are countless others.

Prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment, black lives were merely a fraction — an assigned value of three-fifths to be exact. Minimal progress has occurred to fully recognize and value black life. Four hundred years have passed, and black people are still fighting for their humanity, their freedom, their equality and now their survival. This country’s collective knee is still on the collective neck of black communities. All the while, a pandemic remains a lethal threat for people of color whose bodies have borne the burden of chronic disinvestment, active neglect, and continued insult resulting in toxic trauma and unrelenting stress and pain.

We remain committed to organizing you – our members, around an agenda focused on real paths toward a racially just and equitable region. We must rise to this moment. We must not be silent, rather boldly affirm our commitment to dismantle this vicious system of inequity.

HAND members last saw each other in person in March, when Dr. Ibram Kendi offered words for our racial equity cohort to reflect on. Today they seem to be more timely than ever:

“We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, that lead to racist policies,” Kendi said. “If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, love and persuasion… The actual foundation of racism is not ignorance and hate, but self- interest, particularly economic and political and cultural. Self-interest drives racist policies that benefit that self-interest. When the policies are challenged because they produce inequalities, racist ideas spring up to justify those policies. Hate flows freely from there.”

Join us, HAND Members. Join us, as we rise up to meet this moment.

HAND Board of Directors & Staff

Let us rise to this moment.
Warning: some of the content below contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.
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1 reply
  1. Marie Mann Bibbs says:

    We the people decide who is President! We the people MUST reclaim our rights! At least one of the plagues upon us will be eradicated in November..IF we stand up and VOTE! The past three and a half years have demoralized us…. made us cringe…made us walk away from the TV and news. We are disgusted and shocked as the “leader” of this country has stoked the flames of racism, sexism, elitism, separatism, hate. He is not the only agent, but he has put these realities “on front street”.. encouraging and emboldening hatred and evil. We said Obama would not win….all the while,hoping against hope that he would win…well he won..not once but twice! This is the same country that elected President Obama…but too many good people sat out the 2016 election. As a friend told me..if we had stood in line in 2016 like we are now for toilet paper…we would not be in this mess!
    Government matters..it sets a tone, it establishes some level of safeguards and at least makes attempts at equity. Government is at the seat of systemic racism, perpetuating a system that makes the rich richer and requires an underclass. I am not naive…. but I think that government can and must develop a conscience and a moral center..and lead the fight for inclusion and justice. We the people own government..we the people decide…. we the people must dismantle a system that uses police to protect the privileged and keep the underclass suppressed.
    The election in November will not solve all of our problems….but it will send a signal about the power of the Vote. At the state and local levels, government decides how resources are allocated. And as we elect more brown and black people…. our voices are magnified. Equity will not be offered readily…it will have to be won though vigilance and work. Beneficiaries of white privilege must recognize their complicity, and operate under broader principles of fairness, decency, righteousness. To say nothing, to do nothing, is condoning racism. And whether your stock portfolio is doing well or not….ask yourself what is the cost…to society, to humanity, to our future.
    I commend HAND on its stance, but have come to regard this organization as a vanguard for social justice and equity for the region. Let HAND be an example of the fight in which we must all engage to advance our county where “all men are created equal”…. and treated equally.


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