Reflections on this time, this day, and this moment – May 31, 2020
To say that an injustice was done is not enough. To say countless acts of injustice have been done for 400 years is not enough either. The cries unleashed across our country with true conviction to call out the murder of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and those complicit, demand us to act; to change; to call out the racism that lives at the core of our society; to face it, and to address it with all we have in us.
Photo Credit: KATU Staff
In our city, peaceful protestors called for social change; candles lit and important messages were shared. Powerful poetry, song and messages were conveyed at the NAACP “Eulogy for Black America” at Terry Schrunk Plaza on Friday, and thousands gathered at Peninsula Park. These were peaceful demonstrations calling for an end to racism in all forms – with the clarity that this most recent murder brings forth.
At the moment the glass was broken and the fires were set; as Justice Center staff were running for safety, and store owners saw their businesses looted and destroyed, the call for social justice was abruptly overtaken by the need to settle the streets. These actions dishonored the community intention expressed earlier that day.
I agree with the words spoken by Pastor Mondainé, who stated at the press conference hosted by Portland City Hall this past Saturday morning: “the focus of our rage must be centered on a collaborative non-violent determination to engage in effective activism that actually improves the circumstances that have so enraged us.”
We must increase our vigilance to assure that our future actions move in the way of justice for all people of color — and particularly for the African American community, who have been repeatedly harmed and killed by white people that have accessed and yielded power and privilege in order to destroy and divide.
As we work in the community, we will double our attention and our resolve to support, to honor and to stand by children, the families and the elders we serve.
We believe changes need to be made in the conditions, assumptions, and structures that create injustice, oppression, and lack of inclusion. Supporting our mission means addressing inequities and oppression. MFS recognizes that there are serious historical and existing systems that create inequity for individuals, families and entire communities, as we support prosperity, social justice, and community engagement for people across the lifespan.
MFS commits to raising our voice to build pathways, change systems, and confront obstacles in an effort to gain social justice for all, which we believe is a continuing process of discovery, learning and growth.”
Thank you to the leaders and peaceful protesters who stood up for justice over the past few days, and to the many others who have done so for their entire lives.
It is how we proceed now that will make all the difference.
Judy Strand, MFS CEO