racism

Neighborhood FORWARD’s Statement on Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

We’ve known there are two Americas for some time now.

All summer, we watched as the country marched against police brutality, trying to get the point across that Black Lives Matter. In response, law enforcement rolled through our cities in tanks, sporting weapons of war trained on the very people they swore to protect. When Black America protested, our institutions responded violently and rapidly.

Last week, the rage of those who have felt left behind by progress was on full display. Emboldened by a refusal of their “leader” to condemn white supremacy, whether in Charlottesville or during the Presidential debates, domestic terrorists sought to interfere with a free election and murder high government officials. Bearing nooses and the flag of traitors, they attacked our country.

We’ve known the deck was stacked against people of color for decades. We didn’t, however, know how willing some in government would be to invite this plague into our house.

Between law enforcement spurring terrorists past the barricades and defiant Republican politicians applauding their presence, this was not a display of white privilege, this was a display of white power. It’s a power that is reinforced by our institutions and evident throughout our history. For the last four years, that power has been wielded and weaponized by a significant group of our elected officials.

We deserve better.

Neighborhood FORWARD denounces these actions in the strongest possible terms. The fact that domestic terrorists, encouraged by vicious lies from their authority figures, were allowed to take the house of the people is unacceptable. The fact that they took pictures bragging about their insurrection is unacceptable. The fact that they were encouraged to do this is unacceptable.

No, we don’t want to hear that our leaders are standing in solidarity with us. No, we don’t want to see them kneel while wearing kente cloth. No, we don’t want to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with a group seeking the erasure of our neighborhoods and safety.

We want real change, right now. Bold, common-sense reforms are needed to rectify the issues facing us. Providing affordable housing to combat historic redlining can help marginalized groups generate wealth. Prioritizing rehabilitation instead of punishment can end the cycle of recidivism. Making elections simpler for all can erase the legacy of decades of voter suppression.

These reforms can help solve the greatest issues of our time.

The rise of far-right extremism is but one of the many challenges facing our country. It permeates our institutions, communities, and relationships. To combat it, we need structural changes that reinforce the rights of people of color and move our communities forward.

Neighborhood FORWARD calls on every federal elected official to condemn last week’s insurrection. We dually call on Congress and the Biden administration to prioritize efforts to reform, reinvest, and reimagine communities of color across the country.

Moving forward is only possible by looking backwards. As such, let us never forget the events of January 6. May they inspire us to forego empty rhetoric and pursue genuine change.

There’s Systemic Racism in the Food, Send It Back

Finding a meal or a snack to eat is something most Americans, especially white Americans, do not worry about. They aren’t facing empty pantries or lacking the amount of money they need to buy food to address their hunger. They are not worried about having the amount of money to fit their dietary needs or desires.

 

However, one out of six Americans do not get that luxury and face hunger in their day-to-day life, wondering when their next meal will be. People facing hunger often comes with being below the poverty line and not having the disposable income to buy healthy food. In Black households, hunger occurs two times more than their white counterparts.

 

But hunger does not just have to do with poverty, it also stems from systemic racism at all levels. The ability to build capital, such as buying a home, is systemically stacked against Black Americans. Because of this, they are more likely to reside in a food desert.

 

Food deserts are more likely to be found in Black and Brown communities and low-income areas. Meaning, that specific areas do not have a grocery store or a place to grow their own food. This leads to people having to travel out of their community to get access to food, making it more time consuming.

 

Even if an area has a corner store, it often does not include healthy food. When those stores have healthy food it is priced outrageously high. The price of the food also has a systemic effect. In food deserts, people are more likely to go for cheaper food with a longer shelf life they can grab on the go. Healthy food options need to be accessible for every American.

 

This holiday season, especially with COVID-19, many families and individuals are facing food insecurity and hunger. Consider donating healthy options to local food banks or people in your community facing hunger or partner with a local organization to help feed families. Neighborhood FORWARD was honored to do our part by joining Fathers Who Care Chicago and The Epworth Foundation in Denver to help provide Thanksgiving meals to families.

Thanksgiving Pick Up in Denver

Fathers Who Care Chicago Thanksgiving Celebration

 

If you or a loved one are facing hunger and food insecurity consider finding a local food bank.

Things That Law & Order Didn’t Show

With the continuing racial bias that is happening around the country, New York State completed a report to give a better look at their court system. This report interviewed 289 individuals including court clerks, court attorneys, and other personnel involved with the New York court system.

This report not only found that court officers often have been saying and doing overtly racist acts, but racism is systemic as well.

Looking at the racism of court officers in New York, there have been severe cases of officers posting racist memes or making comments that had a racial bias. Court officers of color interviewed in a recent report commented that they often heard racial slurs that went unpunished and if the officer faces punishment it is not one that results in a changed attitude by the officer.

In the courthouse, people heard court officers calling teenagers the “n-word.” Some officers were also disrespectful to lawyers and defendants of color when they were in the courthouse. It goes deeper than disrespect. Officers using racial slurs towards people of color have been heard multiple times in New York courthouses.

These biases are not the only occurrences of racism going on. People of color are more likely to have to wear handcuffs than their white counterparts when sitting in the courtroom. A “second class system of justice” is what the people of color in New York are experiencing.

New York court officers need to be held accountable immediately. They need to be fired for racial remarks, not the second or third time it happens but the first time it happens. While diversity and inclusion training help, there needs to be a set of rules that keeps the officers accountable.

People of color court officers deserve equality. People of color who are attending court, whether they have been charged or not, deserve equality. People of color deserve equality.

The systemic racism in the New York court system needs to stop NOW.

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