This weekend our community witnessed a hate group - waving American Flags and Trump 2020 signs, holding up white power signals, and chanting ‘blue lives matter’ - commit acts of violence and break laws with no repercussions. At the same time community members, press and legal observers were arrested. This year it has come to light that hate speech has been tolerated within our local police ranks. This year local racial justice advocates have been tear gassed by our police. This year multiple homes have burned in historically Black and Brown neighborhoods. This year we continue to see domestic violence and shooting suspects not be held accountable by our criminal justice system who then re-victimize and retaliate against those who sought protection. When we look at our local history, we know none of these issues are new to our community.
Hate and defense of hate should have no place here.
Many in our community have been left unprotected, unsupported, and devalued.
Our community is hurting and demanding answers.
Our community deserves leadership and institutions that keep us safe.
Our community deserves more than apologies and performative activism.
Our community needs healing, which must include.....
....accountability for the harm that was caused by local leadership. This could include investigation into whether there are connections between hate groups and local institutions, as well as how advocates have been treated.
....transformation of our systems based on justice, love and humanity. This could include completely new institutions, programs and practices that center public health approaches, restorative practices, and works to center safety, reduction of harm, and addresses root causes.
.....support to communities of color who bear the brunt of this harm, at the same level as the community supported victims of other crises and mass shootings in the past.
Healing starts when harm stops. Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo will continue to work with those community members, institutions, and leaders who are truly committed to transformation.