Images of police brutality, along with the testimonials of countless people whose real experiences of violence and racism weren’t captured by cameras, are gripping us as people and as a community. All at once, it is shocking, yet far too familiar.
The deep social fractures visible in our streets and on our screens are inflamed by brutal acts like the killing of George Floyd, but they are grounded in centuries of racism and unjust systems that reflect who is valued more, and who can expect to be treated better. Pernicious values — inherited, protected, and enshrined in policy and practice across decades and generations — lead not only to the violent deaths of people of color, but also to everyday inequities. The COVID-19 crisis offers just one particularly current example: As the epidemic of the coronavirus has collided with the epidemic of racial inequity, we have seen people of color disproportionately harmed not only by the virus itself, but by other aspects of the pandemic’s fallout, including job displacement, poor access to health care, and unequal access to education during distance learning.
We can and must do better. If we hope to move forward as a community and as a society, we cannot keep standing still. Change will come only through the collective efforts of people of all races who have declared — in the streets, in their homes, in their hearts — that enough is enough. It will take work, and it will take all of us. At Connecticut Community Foundation, despite the violence and strife in the streets, we choose to see hope in this moment. We pledge to use our privilege and work alongside our neighbors toward sustainable change that advances racial equity throughout Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. Now is the time to move forward — together.
Julie Loughran, President and CEO
Kathy Taylor, Chair