Equality and Justice: What Can We Do?
By Anthony Nganga
Dear Community Members,
The protests precipitated by the police killing of George Floyd and numerous other black Americans are an indication of people’s frustrations from deliberate inequalities and injustices they have faced for a very long time. It has become clear that we cannot continue the same way.
As a black man, I have had my moments of reflection over the last week, feeling lost and desperate and looking for purpose and direction. I want to be part of the solution. What can I do? What can we do? We know the protests will end at some point but it is clear that the status quo around racism, social justice, and economic equality need to change drastically. To achieve real change means we all must take decisive and deliberate action. All of us, white, black, brown.
What can I do? What can we do?
Words are no longer enough, we must take action now. Here are some suggestions for us, as community members, political, public & private organization leaders.
- Focus on the message being brought
- Educate ourselves on the historic and systematic racist policies and injustices that were in place. Look at the country and look here in our own
- Educate ourselves on what has been done over the years, positive and negative to help make this a better
- Empathize, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and reflect on their experiences. Ask the questions: WHY are they protesting? WHY are they taking a knee? WHY do they feel this way?
- Support and advocate for people around the country and the world, who don’t have the opportunity to speak for Silence is not an option anymore!
- It’s time to give the people that work for us the opportunity to air their feelings, experiences, things they have observed. Ask them: What do you feel we have done so far with regards to equality and justice? What more can we do?
- Talk to the people that we serve and ask the same questions: Do you feel we represent racial and economic equality? What more can we do?
Review and Vet:
- Take a hard and honest look at the organizations we represent. Does the demographic of the staff truly represent the community that we serve? If not, why? What must we do to change that?
- Take a look at the leadership level of the organization. Does the demographic truly represent the community that we serve? If not, why?change that? What must we do to change that?
- Have we been fair in promoting diversity?
- Admit to our mistakes or shortcomings
- Create a plan that has deliberate and measurable actions going forward
- Be transparent, commit and pledge to be accountable to this action plan to your staff and community
- If you are already doing something, it’s time to double and triple the effort!
Let’s rephrase the question ‘What can I do?’ to ‘If George Floyd was your dad or brother or son, what wouldn’t you do to achieve justice?’
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Anthony Nganga is an architect who is the principal of Studio 26 Associates LLC. He is also a board member of the Lowell Plan and of Common Ground Development Corporation. He is a graduate of the Public Matters civic engagement program.