George Floyd has been laid to rest, but racism in America remains alive. We must commit to eradicating racism in all its forms. It’s not just the fatal assaults by police on innocent Black lives. It’s not just White vigilantes gunning down Black people on the street or White nationalists attacking Black churches. It’s not just the epidemic of brutal assaults on the Black transgender community, particularly Black trans women. It’s time, as Philonise Floyd told Congress yesterday, to “stop the pain.” But we must also commit to ending systemic racism, for violence against Black Americans is only the most visible and hideous form of racism in America.
More than half a century has passed since Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1968 Open Housing Act, yet African Americans continue to suffer from discrimination in hiring and housing. But it’s not just discrimination that must be eliminated. Non-violent racism takes many other forms, including, most importantly, the denial of equal opportunity. As long as Black children in America are disproportionately poor and underfed, there is no equal opportunity. As long as Black children are denied an equal education, equal opportunity is denied. As long as Black entrepreneurs lack equal access to credit and capital, racial equality will never be fully realized. Nor will it be realized if Black people are denied equal access to quality health care.
Racism in all its many forms, even the most seemingly benign, must be addressed if racism is to be defeated at last. All of us, in both our professional and personal capacities, must commit to being more inclusive, more aware of racial injustice, and more committed to achieving racial equality. As an organization committed to reproductive freedom, we must promote reproductive justice. We must ensure that everyone, regardless of their color or gender, has equal access to sexual and reproductive health services, and that sexual and reproductive choices are made freely, without any form of coercion. We must also ensure that parents are able to raise their children in safe and sustainable communities. In striving to achieve racial equality, we must also commit ourselves to achieving greater diversity within all levels of our own organization.
George Floyd and countless others, like Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbury, and Tony McDade have been brutally and senselessly killed. We must not let them die in vain. We must seize this moment. Black lives matter. And so does racial equality. We must recommit ourselves to achieving it.