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Anti-Black Racism Must End in This Country: A Message to Legislators of Color Who Are Not Black

June 2020 in

See our blog post and other messages here.

As leaders of color, our goal in this fight is to honor and uplift the needs of Black folks who are fed up with 400 years of anti-Black racism and white supremacy. We also recognize the unique responsibility of SiX to provide space to mobilize people who are not Black to join in this work and find unique ways to support legislators in our network who are actively grappling with anti-Blackness at the center of policies that have harmed communities for generations.

White supremacy threatens our lives on a daily basis — although the effects of anti-Black racism are not experienced by each of us equally. We are all aware that the racial caste system in which we live and breathe is designed to sow disunity and distrust across lines of difference. We see it in anti-Black attitudes and behaviors in our communities and families, the colorism that praises light skin and proximity to whiteness and demonizes darkness, and the way communities of color are often pitted against each other regardless of who holds political power. To dismantle this system, we must show up as allies and partners in this moment by uplifting, supporting, and collaborating with our Black colleagues and constituents.

We know that so many of you, like us, find yourselves swinging between rage, grief, and hopelessness. We know you respect the needs of your Black colleagues, and that you may also need space to process and conspire, without managing the reactions and emotions of your white colleagues who, perhaps for the first time, are realizing the depth of violence and destruction white supremacy has wrought in our communities for centuries. As you hold this depth of complexity, we ask that we collectively step up our efforts to fight anti-Black racism broadly, which starts with an examination of our own attitudes, beliefs, and actions. We implore you to seek and share resources that can help you take on the leadership of talking with your families and communities in a way that builds deeper solidarity, trust, and connection in this fight for our collective humanity.

Like you all, we know that the fight for racial justice is beyond thoughts and prayers.  As we have offered to your Black colleagues, we want to offer partnership with you in this fight. We will be lifting up policy solutions supported by Black-led organizations and creating spaces for legislators to learn about these policies. We will be working with Black-led organizations and movement leaders to bring resources, viewpoints, and leadership to our full network. We will also remain open to new ideas and new calls for action. Let us know if there are any additional supports we can offer at this time. You can send recommendations or ideas to helpdesk@stateinnovation.org.

We will continue this fight and work directly with all of you in our network who are actively grappling with the anti-Blackness at the center of policies that have harmed communities for generations. SiX is here to partner with you and your colleagues to envision a new way to govern, one that centers liberation long promised and never delivered.

Finally, thank you for all that you do for your communities. 

–Jessie Ulibarri and Neha Patel, SiX Co-Executive Directors