Lasting change is possible, but not painless. There are actions each of us can take.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in demanding justice. The movement includes members of our staff, our families and the communities we work alongside—and we see and acknowledge their pain. We also recognize the immeasurable pain of families experiencing loss of lives to police brutality and persistent systemic racial inequality. We hold these families and communities in our hearts. We also hold feelings of being powerless and motivated. We feel both pain and hope, resolution and dismay. These waves of conflicting emotions continue to batter us—and at the same time propel us forward.
Today we are moving forward by listening to black voices, indigenous voices and the voices of people of color. We are trying our hardest to remove ourselves and our egos to center their experiences and stories. We urge you to also listen carefully and understand—with us—how the systems in our society affect all of us differently. The oppression of black people is connected to the oppression of immigrants and indigenous people. Yet they are experienced differently. Look for those differences so you know where and how to make change. We all have a responsibility to listen, not look away, and to understand the pain of others like it is our own.
Today we are moving forward by taking individual actions to invest in, and advocate alongside, communities of color—as many of our friends and relatives have done in the past week. We urge you to join us. You can join a protest or you can support the work from home. You can register to vote and then find others to register. You can fill out your census form. You can call elected officials and candidates and tell them the change you want to see. You can talk to your own family about how systems of oppression hurt us all. Donate to organizations working for social justice. Push your hiking club, your brunch friends, your coworkers—and especially your own family—to examine racism in those spaces and the systems around us. Help them see how their individual actions can change huge systems. This is how it gets done.
You can do one or all of these things, but everyone needs to do something. We cannot rely on those who are oppressed by racist systems to change them. Those of us who benefit from these systems—white people—need to demand the transformation. We cannot shrink from guilt, the fear of discomfort, or losing power. We must recognize our obligation to use the power a white supremacist system gives us to demand that system be dismantled.
Today we are moving forward by continuing to fight for structural change. We believe policy advocacy can and will dismantle systems that disenfranchise black, indigenous, and communities of color. We believe that without exception, public policies and investments must remove barriers for the most-impacted children and families and improve well-being for every child and every family.
Lasting change is only possible when we organize and mobilize around the core value that black lives, brown lives and native lives matter as much as white lives. Our collective liberation depends on the liberation of those who are most oppressed. We invite you to join us to learn, to listen and to transform systems so we can ensure every chance for every one of us. Thank you.