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We who cannot rest

A letter to our community

Dear friends,

The pain of this last week is longstanding and deep within our community.

The unrest is the unrest of those who cannot rest.

None of us can rest until this murder and the long, long line of crimes against black and brown people move from being the inevitable to being the impossible in our country.

In the grief we feel for the loss of George Floyd—the incalculable value of his precious life—we hold, too, a profound grief for all the people of color, all the men and women, all the queer, trans and gender-non-conforming people who have had that knee on their neck unto death, too.

With a prescience that shakes us with sorrow and resolve all these many years later, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. warned, “As long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.”

We urge peace. And we know that the only basis for peace is justice.

We stand with the millions of people in this country, and around the world, in demanding justice—but with a special determination to act right here, right now in our own communities.

We must not let our humanity and all of our moral and practical energies stray from these facts (and many other terrible facts like them) about the conditions forced on our African American brothers and sisters:

— African Americans make up 5% of San Francisco’s population, yet represent 37% of those in our community experiencing homelessness.

— Nationally, African Americans are three times more likely to die from COVID19 than white Americans.

— African American imprisonment rate in the US is more than five times the rate among whites, and the rate at which they are shot and killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans.

— Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, and twice as likely to die as women of other races.

— The 10 counties with the highest food insecurity rates in the nation are at least 60% African American.

The pain people are expressing in mass protests, the overwhelming majority of whom come together to express themselves in a peaceful and nonviolent way, is not new. The pain comes from centuries of systemic violence and police brutality against Black people.

GLIDE’s daily work and mission are focused on caring for, and walking with, those brutalized, traumatized, pushed out, or pushed to the ground by an unequal and unjust system.

We continue to strive toward a racial and social reality that embraces life, by truly loving and respecting each living soul.

There can be no rest and no peace without love, without justice.

Let us all recommit to seeing, again, in those who have been told otherwise, the remarkable and beautiful people they are. Let us say it again. Black Lives Matter. So that we might live fully and meaningfully in this supremely challenging time.

With love and solidarity,

Karen Hanrahan

President & CEO, GLIDE