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A message from The Center: Mourning George Floyd

Dear Friends of The Center,

 

My intention today was to release a letter on behalf of the wonderful people at The Center celebrating our announcement that we would reopen on June 8th. It seems inappropriate to celebrate at a time like this when our country is in turmoil as we experience anger and mourning at the killing of George Floyd.

 

We cannot remain silent in our full support of the black community and the outrage we feel that we live in a country where a black gentleman can be killed by a police officer while not resisting, in full view of other officers, on video, with bystanders watching and pleading for the man’s life...while he pleaded for his own life. If we sit by and remain silent at that type of atrocity, and the atrocities that are perpetrated toward people every day in the name of hate, we become complicit. We become complicit in the actions of those who perpetuate hate and the broken system in our country that preserves systemic racism.

 

As I prepared this letter, I found myself aching for leadership. Leadership from the highest levels of our country to call for order, justice, peace…for real change. I have no delusion, though, that we will see that leadership in our current administration. Instead, I find hope in the words of President Obama:

 

“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’ – whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.

 

This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better.

 

…it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station – including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day – to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts” 

 

The Center will remain a place of safety, welcoming, and empowerment for everyone who is marginalized and victim to those who hate us for our sexual orientation, gender identity, or the color of one’s skin. We proudly stand with the Black Lives Matter movement in our outrage, our support, and our demand that the institutions of our country that allow for privilege, supremacy. racism, homophobia, transphobia, and violence toward anyone simply for who they are, be confronted openly and honestly so that real change can begin.

 

We will reopen The Center on June 8th with our regular hours following protocols and guidelines to protect the safety of our community, our volunteers, and our staff. As the date draws closer, we will share with the public our specific plan for reopening safely. 

 

Please be safe everyone and look out for one another. 

 

In pride, resilience, and love 

 

John