By: Margaret Hall, CEO and Co-Founder, GreenLight Fund
I am angry and outraged. What a privilege that is. To be angry and outraged as the white leader of a poverty-fighting organization, but not terrified and heartsick that the people I love most, my family, could be targeted, humiliated, beaten, arrested or murdered at any time because of the color of their skin.
I grieve for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, their families and their communities. It is horrifying and heartbreaking to see the history of violence against Black people play out again and again in the most callous and entitled ways in our country. Black Lives Matter. It is outrageous that we have to say, again, Black Lives Matter.
Those of us committed to finding solutions to poverty in the United States, are not naïve to the reasons that poor people in our cities are overwhelmingly Black and Brown. Violence has been used in this land for over 400 years to keep Black people down, the result of a country founded on white supremacy. Our laws, our policies, our institutions and our narratives followed, entrenching racism in our country.
Some of my colleagues, understandably, are not ready to move to solutions in this moment. They, like the protesters across the country, are tired of easy answers and empty promises. There are no simple remedies to the murder and mass incarceration of Black people, the poverty, unequal education, low-paying jobs, and inadequate healthcare experienced by the Black community. The legacy of racial injustice in the country is too long and deep.
As hard and bleak as this time feels, I do believe this is a moment of unique opportunity that impels us to respond in bolder ways. I am committed to taking on the hard work every day and over time in our organization and across our cities to challenge systemic racism. I am committed to listening and learning and then acting so that this is not a passing moment in a painful history but a pivotal moment toward deep, lasting and long overdue change.