“Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the county as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.” –Ella Baker
“The murder a week and a half ago of George Floyd, and uprising nationwide, has ignited a heightened awareness for many of us of conditions that are not new. Our Black neighbors are living in an epidemic of violence, an epidemic of economic injustice, an epidemic of health disparities that make the current pandemic exponentially more deadly. The root of these are the public health crises of racism and white supremacy. Racism is a public health emergency.
The amazing writer and educator, Layla Saad, writes that the core ingredients needed for anti-racism work are truth, love, and commitment. So when I say that the Amherst Survival Center joins in solidarity with all who seek justice, I am saying that as an organization:
We believe in truth. We believe in truth, including when it is uncomfortable. We seek truth when making decisions — Who does this help? Who does this hurt? We understand that our struggle for food justice is inextricably tied to the larger struggle for justice and anti-racism work. We know that Black Lives Matter.
We join in love. We come to this moment with love for our Black neighbors, colleagues, friends, and loved ones who are hurting so deeply. We come to this with love for all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our community. We come with love for every Black parent scared for their children, and every Black person who fears they will be next. We believe the way we collectively show our love to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Brianna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, the list goes on…the way we show our love to these families is to do so much better.
We come to this work with a deep and longing love for the humanity that racism strips from us all.
We are committed. In our commitment to fairness and equity, we are committed to justice. We are committed to listening to voices who have been silenced. We are committed to learning. We are committed to accepting accountability when we cause harm. We are committed to taking action. We are committed to doing better.
A few of the amazing local leaders and organizations we are learning from and inspired by are Arise for Social Justice, Gardening the Community, and the Undoing Racism Organizing Collective. Please, learn about them, learn from them, support them. There are many excellent book lists, such as here, here, and here. And many lists of actions white folks can take, such as this one, this one, or this one. Activist, author, and philosopher, Angela Davis warns, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” We join in solidarity with all who seek justice. We need all of us, who believe in the mission of the Amherst Survival Center, to join in this work as well.
With truth, love, and commitment,
Lev Ben-Ezra, Executive Director “