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June 3, 2020
Dear members, partners and friends,
There is a time for rage and anger, which unlike numbness, can be channeled into a re-commitment to working for justice and equality. Real people in the communities we serve are hurting and angry. We are hurting and angry, too.
Over the past several weeks, we have witnessed the unspeakable tragedies of George Floyd’s Minneapolis murder by police, Breonna Taylor’s assassination inside her Kentucky home, and Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death in a Georgia neighborhood. These are just some of the names we know, and some of the most recent in a long list that extends over centuries.
We mourn with and for their loved ones, and for all the Black lives we have lost. We are angry at the injustices our communities face seemingly every day, sometimes reported in the news and sometimes nearly invisible.
These recent atrocities are even harder to bear because they come in the midst of the devastating COVID-19 crisis, a crisis that is disproportionately impacting communities of color. We mourn for these losses too, and they remind us that our work is far from over.
Now is not the time for silence. Self-Help and CRL have joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ letter to the Congress speaking out against violence against Black people and calling for necessary accountability and federal reform for police misconduct.
At Self-Help, we are also channeling our outrage and grief into a re-commitment to working for justice and equality. We feel the importance of our mission extra keenly today, and we will continue to push ourselves to live up to our values of equality and opportunity in every aspect of our work: the services we provide our members, the policies we advocate for, the way we engage with and lift up our community partners, the choices we make when we invest in communities, and the ways we take care of our staff.
Some of our branches, including our Seaway branches in Roseland and West Chatham, were damaged in the demonstrations over the weekend. The temporary closure of these branches to repair the damage will be a hardship for residents in Southside Chicago, but we will work diligently to ensure that our members and staff are taken care of. For all our locations, as with the COVID crisis, the safety and well-being of our members, staff and the communities they serve comes first.
We can and will repair our properties, but—more importantly—we will also stay focused on the vital work ahead. We must be courageous and passionate in standing up against systemic racism, anti-Black oppression, and discrimination against poor people and people of color.
A better, more just world is possible. Today we rededicate ourselves to creating that world. We are grateful to have your membership, support and partnership in that work.
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