Cracks of Structural Racism are Erupting in Earthquakes, Says Institute
In response to recent events shining a light on racism in America – including the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – the following can be attributed to Ryan Haygood, President & CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice:
“From the ravaging of communities of color by the pandemic, to case after case of brutal violence from racist policing, we are seeing our very foundation erupt into earthquakes from the deeply embedded cracks of structural racism.
“Marching in the streets is the correct response. It is a necessary response. It is a beautiful response. It is an inevitable response to generations of violence and harm.
“Even as we analyze this response, we must keep our eye on the harm that’s eliciting it.
“America is sick with the virus of racism. We see it in the persistent disparities in wealth. In the persistent discrimination in criminal justice. In the persistent attempts to suppress the vote. And yes, in the persistent violence by police on Black bodies.
“All of these things are true right here in New Jersey.
“While we rightly focus on urgently needed policing reforms, we must, too, keep our eye on the larger picture – on the pressure that has built up from cracks of structural racism.
“People are saying this time feels different. And it does. We are seeing a coalescence of factors. We are being governed nationally by an administration committed to oppression and determined to stoke the fires of racism. We are in economic despair. All these things are triggering the tremendous outpouring of grief and rage.
“But we’ve said it feels different before.
“This time, we the people must make it different than previous times. We must exercise our rights, and raise our voices, and advocate for deep systemic reform. We must not squander this moment.
“We must repair these cracks and build a new foundation if we are ever to become a nation that lives up to its promise. A nation where Black lives really matter.
“The national outpouring of determination gives us hope.”