The Edward W. Hazen Foundation, a private foundation established in 1925, is committed to supporting organizing and leadership of young people and communities of color in dismantling structural inequity based on race and class.
Today we are reminded that a system of laws is not always a system of justice. Much as we yearn for the day when it will be unacceptable to kill an unarmed black man with impunity, that day has not yet come.
Tens of thousands of people protested a grand jury’s actions peacefully in Ferguson, Missouri and continue to do so in New York. For some, the rage and hopelessness erupted in ways that are hard for many of us to understand. But therein lies the challenge for the activist community: to find ways to harness their anger for action that will lead to positive change.
With a deep commitment to racial justice, the Edward Hazen Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts to surface and address the negative impacts of racialized public institutions and policies and to stand with those seeking to dismantle structural racism in all realms of our society.
We stand with the people of Ferguson and New York and the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and so many – too many – others. We know that the circumstances that led to their deaths and to the grand jury decisions did not emerge overnight, but have been decades in the making. We understand that these events are far from unique in America. Having built a country on a bedrock of racialized policies without completing the work to dismantle them we are left with the mass incarceration of people of color, electoral districts gerrymandered to insure incumbency, segregated and underfunded schools. And so, these events are not surprising. Indeed, they may be inevitable.
In cities and towns all over America, our implicit racial biases cause innocent people to be targeted, particularly people of color, and misguided police policies turn peace officers into soldiers. Economic and electoral power remain in the hands of a small, predominantly white elite and everyone else is excluded from controlling their individual and collective futures.
There may be exceptions, individuals who overcome the obstacles society has constructed for them. But their existence should not be seen as proof of equality, as their heartwarming stories of success in the face of great odds are in fact simply evidence of the barriers that injustice has created.
But hopelessness is not an answer. We can all do something, and we must take action. Go to www.thisstopstoday.org, http://fergusonresponse.tumblr.com,or
http://fergusonaction.com to find a place to join with your community in protest and demand that there be accountability for Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths. Advocate for quality policing that is accountable to the community it serves in Ferguson by supporting Organization for Black Struggle http://obs-onthemove.org/ or in New York Communities United for Police Reform http://changethenypd.org/ and also in your own community. Join the national movement to fight back with http://blacklivesmatter.com/
Because Black lives matter. All lives matter.
“If we fail to act, the fires of frustration and discontent will continue to burn, not only in Ferguson, Missouri, but all across America."
- Congressman, John Lewis,