Be Anti-Racist. Join the Work.
This moment in history is not one in which we will stay silent. After two centuries of slavery, another 89 years of legal segregation, and decades of systematic oppression and trauma, what we saw over the weekend was what MLK once said was “the language of the unheard”. Due to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Mike Ramos, Tony McDade, and countless others, there has been a swell of rightful protest. We stand by our neighbors, both housed and unhoused, as we demand an end to police brutality and the injustices of our legal system.
As a statewide agency, Texas Homeless Network recognizes our part in being anti-racist. As a majority-white organization it is our duty to use our staff and our organizational privilege to do anti-racism work across our state. We know our agencies, partners, and neighbors experiencing homelessness across Texas depend on the work we do. It is in these efforts we know that Black people in America are 3 times more likely to experience homelessness, and this is not by self-determined factors. Black people are subject to racist housing discrimination and racist employment discrimination, and they often live in areas where there has been a purposeful effort to distribute little-to-no funding for resources. While we have worked to promote better policies in our state, we know there is still much more urgent work left to do.
As homeless service providers, we need to work to deconstruct the systematic barriers faced by Black Texans, and also the inherent advantages that give white people privilege. Healthcare, education, housing, employment, wealth, and access to food are just a few of the systems we need to correct as a country to give our Black neighbors justice. And, in this moment, we must look at the rates of incarceration, the history of the drug war, the history of police brutality, and racism embedded in the history of policing, to change the way Americans view criminal justice. We know that these histories are still being written and are very much present in the legal system today.
This moment calls for more than just statements about injustice, but actions to back them up. We cannot do justice by our neighbors experiencing homelessness without also doing racial justice and systematic justice to the reasons they lose housing and their lives. We must work to create a better future for Black people, with Black people. As a staff we are dedicated to educating ourselves about the ways we uphold white supremacy, ensuring that our leadership structures are inclusive of Black people and people of color, working to step back and having Black people take the lead, and using our privilege in a way that is informed by Black people. We urge you, as our supporters, to do the same work at your agencies, in your homes, and in your communities. This is not easy work; there will be pushback and challenge, but for every moment you are tired, remember all of the years taken from those who were murdered and all of the years that systems have unjustly oppressed our neighbors, and know we are not nearly as tired as them. Unless we are working to undo these structures, we are staying complacent to their consequences.
We commit to standing against anti-Blackness in the spaces we occupy, we commit to educating ourselves to what we can do as individuals and as an agency to be anti-racist, and we commit to not only listening to but uplifting Black voices. We hope you will join us in committing to the work. #BlackLivesMatter.
- Donate here or Here to George Floyd’s Memorial Fund
- Donate to Tony McCade’s Memorial Fund and Mike Ramos’ Memorial Fund
- Donate to the National Bailout Fund
- Donate to Reclaim the Block
- Donate and learn from Campaign Zero
- Anti-racism Resources
- Being Antiracist
- Why you should stop saying “all lives matter,” explained in 9 different ways
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- The Alliance’s Racial Equity Network Action Steps: Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Homelessness System
- White Ally Book List – buy books from black-owned businesses like this one
- Books to Guide Your Antiracism Journey in 2020 – buy books from black-owned businesses
- How to tackle anti-blackness as a non-black PoC
- 7 Ways Non-Black People of Color Perpetuate Anti-Blackness
As this is a community conversation, we invite you to provide us constructive feedback.
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