George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery were killed because of systemic racism. These acts of appalling racism are not new, nor are they isolated. The harm and the trauma caused by white domination has existed for too long. The injustices that Black people have experienced in this country for over 400 years are staring at us – again – still, begging us to be better than this. Every Black person has the right to walk through this world free from fear, harassment and harm. Every Black child has the right to a safe world.
The Board of Directors and staff of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership stand with our Black neighbors. We hear you.
In our work, we know that the health of the lower Columbia River and the health of the people who live along it are inextricably linked. Just as people cannot be healthy when drinking water is laced with toxics, neither can we be healthy when institutional racism violently harms and marginalizes Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. We know, too, that Black, Brown and Indigenous communities have worse health outcomes due to racism in our environmental and land use practice. This is compounded by racism in our health care delivery systems and in our educational systems. It’s time to confront the white lens of our history and our practices and it is past time to remove that lens.
As an organization, the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership commits to deepening our learning about the causes of these inequities and their manifestations in lower Columbia communities and to removing those inequities. The Estuary Partnership commits to changing the lens that we use in the programming we deliver, how we deliver it, and in who we are.
Darnella Frazier, a young Black woman had the courage to stand strong and film George Floyd’s killing, the entire 9 minutes of a horrific act of white supremacy. Her video put clearly in front of us, a broken culture; her bravery may, we hope, be a tipping point.
Each of us needs to stand as she did. Each of us needs to lead as she did.
Black Lives Matter.
Susan Holveck Debrah Marriott
Chair, Board of Directors Executive Director