To Our Grieving Neighbors:
As a community centered organization, we are grieving with our neighbors during this time as we witness countless senseless acts of violence against African Americans and other people of color across this country. We stand in solidarity with our grieving community to say: black lives matter!
Our community is hurting from systems which create generations of oppression, discrimination, and denied access to basic rights that include health care, housing, and a livable wage. Black and brown communities deserve freedom from intimidation and disproportionate violence by law enforcement. The Lincoln community is experiencing trauma from continuous violence and unlawful murders of African Americans, which most recently include George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and just this weekend Omaha native, James Scurlock.
This weekend, neighbors from across our community came together to peacefully protest the violence perpetrated by our institutions and demand that Black Lives Matter. The Everett neighborhood was also one of the sites where people chose to damage property, despite instructions from protest organizers asking folks to refrain from doing so.
We honor and stand in solidarity with our neighbors who were there to uplift and support Black communities through protest. We are proud of our community for coming together to peacefully protest, clean up the damage on Lincoln Mall, provide water and nourishment, pick up litter, and offer medical support where needed. Our community continues to support and strengthen one another, and we hope that neighbors and city leaders continue to lead by example of compassion and solidarity.
Our community – from our neighbors to our city leaders – has a responsibility to dismantle systems of inequality that disproportionately impact African Americans. Our community needs our city leaders, including law enforcement, to stand and march alongside the peaceful protesters to demand an end to police violence. We have and must commit to using other options to build and strengthen community with an open mind, ready to confront the systemic inequities that harm our communities of color.
It is our responsibility as residents and a city is to acknowledge our city’s history and the systems and institutions that perpetuate inequities of the past and that exist to this day. The South of Downtown CDO will take this time to reflect on how our organization is complicit in perpetuating racial and systemic inequity. We embrace our role and responsibility to the South of Downtown residents – especially our black and brown friends and neighbors – to confront the forces of oppression and exclusion.
We are here to work together, establish networks, work with the City of Lincoln, cultural community centers, and work with people of color to solve issues of racial injustice. We are here to help facilitate community dialogue in an effort to rebuild the structural damage to property in the South of Downtown and to facilitate the systemic change that is owed to the Black community to further a vision of communities of opportunity for all. The time is now to take responsibility, take action, and to make lasting change.
Your South of Downtown Community Development Organization Staff and Board of Directors