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At Community Bridges, we stand against the racism, social injustice and police brutality that are so clearly visible in our world today. In the last several weeks, we have seen frequent and significant racial tensions boil over. We have also seen a new push for reform that is demanding equality for black lives, and stands against anti-blackness and racism that have devalued humyn life for hundreds of years. As a result of such visual and horrific crimes against Black Americans at the hands of those who are supposed to be our peacekeepers, we are called to name and condemn these actions as contrary to our values of freedom, community and our commitment to serve. We also understand the tremendous pain and sadness that these incidents of systemic inequality and violence continue to perpetuate on the lives of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). These continued incidents of brutality of people such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor – or more recently, Sean Monterrosa – has caused stress, fear and anxiety during an already emotionally heightened time.
So we must seize this moment and actively work to change the systems that uphold and enable systemic racism in all its forms. As an organization, Community Bridges upholds true equity, and an important part of this work is to actively engage in the dismantling of white supremacy, and to continuously become better allies of justice. It is important for us to remember that there is no real start or end to these efforts, and that positive change comes from constant attention to these issues. We are experiencing a significant moment in our nation’s history and we must not let it pass without making significant and fundamental changes to how we all operate. We must ensure that moments like these are based on more than empty slogans. We must become catalysts to correct wrongs at all levels of society and seek justice for black lives, and as a result, all people. We must remove past approaches that have done more harm than good to ensure true liberation and freedom of racism – in all its forms – for ourselves and others.
Therefore, we affirm our commitment to support Black Lives Matter #BLM. We have deliberately waited to issue this statement because we wanted to give the space for communities directly affected to take the stage first before we amplified the message. As the largest social services nonprofit agency in Santa Cruz County we have a distinct responsibility to use our privilege by lending our platform, our voice and our support to this movement. By speaking up and sharing our voice through public affirmation, we signal that we choose the side of the oppressed over that of the oppressor. We will continue to let Black voices lead the way, but we will join them in the fight to abolish the current inequitable status quo plaguing our society.
Supporting the Black Lives Matter #BLM movement without translating this into actionable and meaningful changes to systems and processes within our own institutions will do little to create real change. Real change requires that we, at Community Bridges and within our community, actively work to remove all policies and systems that perpetuate white supremacy, gender inequality, bigotry and other expressions of systemic racism. We are also committed to eradicating anti-blackness and white supremacy from our own systems, as well as engaging in further introspection and analysis to change hundreds of years of learned and reinforced oppression.
Raymon Cancino, Chief Executive Officer