Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Statement in Solidarity Toward Racial Justice

We join the country in its pain and outrage over the recent murder of George Floyd, which has led us to mourn anew so many other Black lives lost to police violence and structural racism. All people, regardless of zip code, income, or race, deserve the opportunity to thrive and to contribute to their communities. For individuals like Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others, the systems that have been in place for hundreds of years in this country have created a reality where these crimes are not only far too common but they pass by with far too little accountability. We stand in solidarity with the many Americans who have stepped forward these past few days and declared their commitment to racial justice.

Violence against Black Americans is part of the structural racism plaguing this nation. Severe economic disparities are yet another symptom of it. For example, Black Hoosiers were more likely pushed out of employment during the recession and recovery, and Black workers are twice as likely to be low-income (54.2%) than their white counterparts (26.7%) because they are more likely to be working in low-paying occupations. Our Black neighbors are less likely to earn paid time off and more likely to experience the death of their baby before that baby’s first birthday.

Our society can and must do better.  Our leaders need to make concerted and honest efforts to tear down racist institutions and rebuild new ones that are informed by the communities most impacted by disparities. Clearly, they should ensure that ALL Americans can feel safe and protected by our law enforcement organizations. But we must go much further to co-create a more equitable and just economy and society for Black Americans in wealth, education, housing, health outcomes, and beyond.

While, as an institution, the Institute for Working Families strives to build a society of broad-based prosperity, we can and will keep pushing ourselves to understand our history, improve our processes, and advance anti-racist public policy. We will recruit, seek counsel from, and deeply engage with members of impacted communities to learn from them and to co-create policy solutions with them. We will disaggregate data to the fullest extent possible to help inform policymakers and the public of how communities of color and Black Hoosiers in particular are impacted by these inequalities. Recognizing that Black Hoosier women experience the highest degree of disparities in many areas of their lives, we will center Black women in policy development. We urge you to hold us accountable to these pledges, and to join us as we move forward. 

In solidarity,
The Indiana Institute for Working Families team,
Jessica, Erin, Amy, Tia, Lauren, and Pamela

To learn more about the policy changes needed to protect Black lives and dismantle systemic racial inequities, explore the resources below:

·       Campaign Zero provides research on evidence-based policy solutions to end police violence including community oversight, independent investigations and limiting the use of force.
·       The national NAACP demands justice for recent killings and the passage of criminal justice, economic, health and voting policies needed to protect Black lives.   Find Indiana's local NAACP units here.
·       The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities lays out three principles to guide a racially equitable policy response to COVID-19, which is disproportionately killing and harming Black Americans.
·       Read up on racial equity with this suggested reading list

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