COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE STATEMENT

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

"I don't get this! I don't understand how someone can hate someone for something they did not choose or get to control. We did not choose our skin color, God did."

I did not imagine that my daughter at the age of ten would be grappling with some of the same things I was trying to understand and her age growing up in Mississippi some 40+ years ago, a state that continues to swelter in racism. A state that continues to fly the confederate flag high as a sense of pride and nostalgia. A state that prepared me, by default, for this moment (of 8:46), this moment (of unrest), this moment (of unpacking whiteness), this moment (of awakening) and hopefully, this moment (of change). This is my moment. This is your moment. America, this is our moment.

This is our moment to create a new narrative for black and brown folks. I already know what it is like to be black, woman, and poor in America. I alread know what it is like to pray each time I leave my house, each time my black husband is away from me, all the time for my black stepson who lives in another state, that we return alive and safely. I already know what I should do if and when I am pulled over by a police officer and sadly, so does my ten year old daughter. I already know the doors will lock as I approach the vehicle occupied by a white person. I heard the clicks just the other day at Target. I already know that purses will be clutched tighter when my broad shouldered black husband walks next to a white woman. I already know what it feels like to be overlooked, counted out, overjudged, stereotyped, dismissed, devalued and killed simply because I am black, we are black. I also know that white people can't possibly know what this feels like. We want a new narrative. I need a new narrative. No, I demand a new narrative for my daughter, her daughter, and her granddaughters to come.

We need a reform of systems and institutions that continue to oppress and obliterate black and brown lives. We need a Reformation Proclamation. A new America, one that truly values the life of each of its citizens. An America that appreciates the beauty of its diversity and promotes the inclusion of it. An America that defends the marginalized and protects their rights to exist fully and freely. An America that unites us. This is the United States of America...this is the America we dream to be. This is the America we all should strive to become. 

As a social justice advocate and diversity and inclusion champion, I have spent my entire adult life working to advance equality and equity for marginalized groups and to promote racial reconciliation. I remain steadfast in this commitment and will continue to dedicate my time and resources to causes and organizations that support these endeavors. I will continue to stand for justice. Therefore, I stand for Freddie Gray, Sam Dubose, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, Treyvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I stand because black lives matter, indeed. I stand because I am black and I can't breathe. 

Dr. Linda L. Thomas Worthy, Ph. D.