Black lives matter.
a message from our executive director
"Listen, Learn, Reflect and Grow
Our country is plagued with an infection. This infection has been around for centuries, and has recently become more visible because of current events. It is a plague which effects all people, both in the developing world and in our wealthy, developed, and prosperous nation. It makes people sick. It puts people’s lives at risk, and it kills people. I’m not referring to the Coronavirus. I am talking about racism: institutionalized, systematic, subtle, overt, covert and even unintentional racism.
Oregon Coast Community Action began in 1965 and was part of a nationwide effort to end poverty, combat racism, and to provide opportunities and equality for our most vulnerable populations. The National Community Action values state, “We believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect and recognize that structural race, gender and other inequities remain barriers that must be addressed.” If we truly believe this, we must live it.
What can we do as a community, organization, and as individuals?
Some people have taken to social media, sharing educational videos, quotes, stories and comments. Others have joined peaceful protests or have approached legislators to demand change at the highest levels. We have also seen the eruption of “quarantined rage” or a reaction to the George Floyd murder that has resulted in even further destruction, violence, and devastation in many cities across our country.
Listen – Violence is not and has never been the answer. One of the most famous events of the Civil Rights Movement was the March on Washington, D. C. in 1963. More than 200,000 people of all races congregated for this peaceful march with the main purpose of compelling Congress to pass civil rights legislation that would also establish job equality for everyone. The highlight of the March was Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. During this protest, people listened. They heard stories about racial injustices, people joined together to sing “We Shall Overcome,” and “Oh Freedom.” The March is credited with propelling our government into action on civil rights, creating political momentum for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Learn – We can learn from the past, but we also have responsibility to learn about present experiences from communities of color today. Read and listen to their stories. I often hear the phrase “All Lives Matter.” I don’t think that many people would argue that fact. Yes, every life matters. The Black Lives Matter Movement is not trying to take that away from anyone, it is trying to highlight the oppression and systematic racism that have plagued people of color for generations.
Reflect – What individual impact can you have as a part of the ORCCA family? As a bi-racial woman who grew up in poverty, I understand that many of us often express our frustration with the system of oppression. However, I must acknowledge that because I’m educated, light skinned, speak English, and I’m not visibly disabled, I have privilege. Instead of focusing on all the ways my suffering surpasses someone else’s, I instead turn to how my advantages can make me an ally to those who are in the trenches. Each and every one of you have power; whether it’s because you have a job, car, family, or friends. You also have power because you are an educator, a family healer, or you can help someone find food, shelter, and warmth. You are making a difference. Reflect on how you can continue to use your privileges for good.
Grow - After listening, learning, and reflecting we can choose to grow. The foundation of Community Action was built on principles that realize the value in both systemic and personal growth.
“The words of the Community Action Promise articulate who we are and what we believe, “We care about the entire community”. And, in love and unity, we will interrupt the darkness of this time and will continue to “embody the spirit of hope. #blacklivesmatter"
And what's next for us?
We are going to actively evaluate our hiring practices, explore training, increase our knowledge base and understanding of our role in reducing inequities, we will educate and advocate for systems change that promotes equity and opportunity for all...Keep checking back to see our progress.