Racism is such a filthy word. To be called a racist messes with one’s fundamental need to be seen as a good human being. We avoid conversations about race because they conjure such complicated emotions — shame, guilt, fear, frustration, anger. Yet, ignoring racism and pretending it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. Instead it festers and surfaces in our systems, denying black people equal participation. It’s easy to stand against it when it’s obvious. But what happens when it manifests in more insidious ways, as it did when New Yorker, Amy Cooper called the police on a black man who simply asked her to put her dog on a leash? If this America is ever to be a place where there is liberty and justice for all, then we, all of us together must remove racial barriers from our systems, brick by brick.
The UNRacialize Project’s New York, Vermont, Illinois, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, Arizona, Ohio and Nebraska chapters are circulating an open letter to our congressmen. This is the first brick.
Our letter is below.
July 13, 2020
Congressman Antonio Delgado
420 Warren St.
Hudson, NY 12534
Dear Congressman Delgado
As the world demonstrates its outrage over the murder of George Floyd, it’s impossible to deny the brutality that exists for black men. But this moment isn’t just about George Floyd. This is the culmination of four hundred years of knees on necks, nooses, torched churches and the refusal to allow black people the benefit of their humanity.
While I’m pleased to see unity across racial lines, I’m concerned about the unresolved disparity that still simmers just beneath the surface of our systems. Even as black and white leaders, politicians, journalists and corporate executives stand together beating “Kumbaya” on the drums of equality, black people continue to endure unfair practices through financial, legal and educational institutions.
The truth is that race is not as simple as a black-white dichotomy; it never has been. It’s a lived reality that directly connects our human value position to how we’re perceived in our daily interactions with people of all cultures. It’s how we navigate and experience government, social and health institutions, freedoms of speech and movement, personal safety and even how we worship God. When we talk about equality there is an inference of value that leaves black people vulnerable to the very system that bought and sold them like cattle in the first place. The notion of equality as we live it doesn’t even come close to solving our problems.
Unless we enact legislation that removes the subjective value of black life, there will always be a George Zimmerman, a William Bryan or a Derek Chauvin who decides that black life is non-essential. There will continue to be heavy handed judges, civilians who make false reports or take the law into their own hands and black mothers who bury their sons too soon.
Mr. Congressman, there are moments in life so rare and so extraordinary that they cannot pass without shifting how we live, move and even how we think. This is one of those moments. God has given us the opportunity to redefine our world in ways that have exponential impact for generations to come. This must be our goal.
Today, the UNRacialize Project members and its sponsors urge you to take immediate action toward that goal by sponsoring the following proposals through the required channels.
Form a commission to research and examine racial inequity in state law and remove local and state race based legislation from the books.
Implement policy that mandates a regular review of local, state and federal courtroom decisions for consistency and fair practices.
Implement community review boards to review police misconduct complaints and implement a three strike rule for repeat offenders.
Outlaw making malicious and false police reports against minorities for profit or convenience.
Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to drive system changes so that they are current and equitable for all people. We are committed to UNRacializing our nation and we will keep your support in mind should legislators address such legislation.
Founder – The UNRacialize Project