All of us at Eastside Legal Assistance Program are deeply saddened and angry over the senseless murder of George Floyd. This is one of countless acts of violence against people of color that has stained our country’s history.
ELAP stands in solidarity with our black clients, volunteers, supporters, and staff members as we mourn this loss. And as an organization, we demand that systemic racism, which impacts all people of color, be acknowledged and eliminated.
Without the video by bystanders, we may never have known of this tragedy or the events may have been slanted to assuage the guilt of those responsible for it. Who knows what difference a live video could have made in getting justice for Emmett Till in 1955 or the Scottsboro Boys in 1931? Today, however, we have the stark footage of video showing Mr. Floyd’s last moments alive and we view with horror what racism looks like in America. At ELAP the journey toward equity, led by co-workers of color, began by acknowledging our own inherent biases. We recognize that this is a journey. We understand that centuries of systemic racism cannot be eliminated from our community and eliminated from our hearts in an instant. But as an organization, we are ready to begin the heavy lifting: first to understand our own failings, and then to begin the process of growth and healing that is required to take this journey.
At ELAP we will be continuing this dialogue with our board, staff, and throughout the community with a renewed sense of urgency. We invite you to join us as we go beyond thoughts and prayers. Band with us as we raise up our voice against injustice. Partner with us, with broken hearts, for Mr. Floyd’s family and the families of everyone slain by racism, inequality, and injustice.
Here, in our own community, we can work for change; it all starts with conversations with your family, conversations with your neighbors, and conversations with your local elected officials. By calling out centuries of inequity and demanding accountability, we can be a catalyst for change. But remember, it starts here.
Confucius said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” We are hammering at the stones of injustice and inequity, and we ask that you join us.
Jerry Kroon, Executive Director