The core tenets of what Project Equality stands for are equality, justice, and fairness. Since 1965, Project Equality has worked to address racism and discrimination in employment, education, healthcare, and housing — and sought to engage privilege to create a stronger community.
We now stand in solidarity with Black Americans in the fight for these rights. Equality has been denied for 401 years of Black oppression in every aspect of American life. This oppression came to light most recently with the murder of a Black man by a Minnesota police officer. For eight minutes and 46 seconds, Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to George Floyd’s neck as Floyd begged for his life and three fellow officers looked on.
We grieve — as individuals, as an organization, and as a nation — the endless march of police brutality and murder of Black Americans: Jamar Clark and Philando Castile in Minneapolis; Dreasjon “Sean” Reed in Indianapolis; Breonna Taylor in Louisville; Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia; Botham Jean in Dallas; Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Stephon Clark in Sacramento; Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Eric Garner in New York; Ryan Stokes, Terrance Bridges, Cameron Lamb and Donnie Sanders in Kansas City; and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. The list, unfortunately, goes on.
Their lives mattered.
The death of George Floyd has laid bare the agony, fear, and exhaustion of Black Americans; constantly forced to watch innocent brothers and sisters slain by law-enforcement officers; wondering whether their next trip to the store could be their last; feeling powerless to protect their children.
America has broken its promise to Black people time and again.
We’ve been through this before; another Black body becomes a hashtag, and the national conversation turns to the horror of racism with yard signs and social media posts. But too soon after, people return to their daily lives, and the cycle begins again.
It is time for real change.
It is time to address the systemic roots of oppression and do the hard work of confronting the white supremacy that is woven into the fabric of American life – because health care impacts education, which impacts employment, which impacts housing, which has its own impacts, and so on.
The recent outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement is encouraging, but there is more work to be done. We must enact legislation to reform our criminal justice system, end the school-to-prison pipeline, provide healthcare for all, democratize access to quality public education, and ensure that safe housing opportunities are available to every American.
Until our entire society leverages our political will and economic power to seriously address the stains of racism and white supremacy, we will continue this endless cycle, and the words “Black Lives Matter” will be nothing but a hollow echo as more of our brothers and sisters lose their lives.
“That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.” Malcolm X