I, along with my Open Hand family, am angered and saddened by the murders of Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. George Floyd, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery. And what is especially sad is the fact that, in the addition to these three victims of horrific violence, there have been thousands and thousands of black men, women and children who have also lost their lives due to oppression and social injustice. My own personal belief is that complacency and ignorance in our country about this fact is undeniable.
Although I love this country, and I never forget that I am very privileged to live here, I also acknowledge that within our most sacred institutions, our systems and indeed our culture, racist beliefs are prevalent. In some very subtle ways and in many overt ways, I personally feel that our institutions sometimes condition us to believe that black lives are somehow not as important as white lives. This warped and absurd mindset has led to enormous inequities – including deep disparities in healthcare.
As the Executive Director of Open Hand Atlanta, I take tremendous pride in knowing that by providing access to healthy meals for food insecure individuals battling or at risk for chronic health conditions, we are helping to address a primary social determinant of health for people of color and, in fact, for all of our clients who represent the most vulnerable in our community. As I hope you know, Open Hand has a long and storied history of addressing deeply rooted health and social disparities through decades of profound work by our Board, staff and volunteers.
I thoughtfully, but emphatically want to contribute to the chorus of community leaders and activists from all sectors, and stand with individuals from all walks of life to advocate for meaningful change in our efforts to help eliminate systemic racism once and for all. I will also pledge to do my part to help heal the deep wounds and pain that have existed in our community for far too long.
While clearly there is much to be done to confront systemic racism, I can’t help but feel hopeful about actions and dialogue around social injustice happening in our country today. No doubt, it is a painful dialogue that requires patience, understanding and active listening, but I pray that this passionate dialogue and show of action from across the globe is a giant step towards true change in support of equality.