Friends and Allies,
I write to you in solidarity. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other Black Lives have left our community, our people, and our world with profound outrage and grief. The Black community is subjected daily to profiling, inequality, and violence from a system that pushes down and out. We see frequent proof of this from injustices that are recorded or reported. We see overwhelming proof from violent police responses to peaceful protesting.
I write this letter to declare in certain and succinct terms: Black Lives Matter. The needless loss of life, flagrant violence and unequal access for the Black community must end now. That responsibility is ingrained in our DNA as a cooperative organization. We lead a charge of commitment to community-driven change and honor the dignity and common humanity of all people.
I write this letter as an organization dedicated to empowering those who champion the world’s most vulnerable. We stand with Black communities as allies calling for immediate and real change. Our Cooperative Concern for Community compels us to focus our lens inward, to our neighborhoods in the DMV area, extending to all those bearing the brunt of systemic violence across the nation. The racial discrimination in the United States is an affront to our values and our moral compass at OCDC. We know that not being racist is not enough – we must be anti-racist. This means factoring intersectionality into our programming. It means making space for Black perspectives and voices. We find courage and hope in the millions of Americans from every state and every walk of life who are standing with us in this call.
I write this letter to recognize the deep pain of our Black friends and colleagues who are subject to this injustice daily. I reaffirm my commitment to create conditions where love and acceptance can thrive here, at OCDC, among our member organizations, and within my community. My staff and I are dedicated to ensuring a workplace safe from racism and discrimination. It will not be tolerated.
I write this letter as an intentional action. Words must be under-girded with the notions they claim. I am one of the founders and serve on the Board of Directors of the Community Purchasing Alliance, where we operate a program to bring together DMV community members in order to bulk-buy from Black and minority-owned businesses. Our goal is a just, equal, and inclusive economy and society that empowers people to achieve their highest potential. The CPA also provides instructional resources to help community members come together and form their own cooperatives. Some of the most important things we can do as a community right now are to listen, encourage others to do better, and share resources. I have included a list of organizations where those with the means to do so can donate time and resources at the end of this letter.
I’m not Black, but I see you. I hear you. I mourn with you. I will fight with you.