People are hurting because of racial prejudice and white supremacy. The injury is not new, but violence and threats of violence toward people of color, immigrants and other vulnerable communities have been escalating in recent years, initiated by white nationalists.
It unfortunately is nothing new for America, or for the South, to experience this level of terror. Far too many groups have been targeted throughout our history. But it’s disturbing to see this escalation threatening our democracy and unraveling the progress so many have sacrificed to achieve.
One question our staff, our board and maybe some of you are asking is this: How can we stop this hatred?
We denounce white supremacy and white nationalism.
At Arise, we will continue our core work to lift policy barriers that marginalize people in poverty. And a key part of that is speaking out loudly and clearly for the dignity of all of our neighbors.
We must stand with our neighbors who are targets of hatred. That includes people who are Muslim, Jewish, Hispanic or Latinx. That includes people who are black, brown, white, indigenous, Asian or Middle Eastern. It includes people who are or were incarcerated. And it includes all people, whatever their gender, their net worth, their ZIP code or their country of origin.
We affirm your dignity, your worth and your right to live free from fear and persecution. You are not alone. Read our full statement on racial equity and inclusion here.
We will build connections and bridges with the people who are most vulnerable to attack.
With partners in the Alabama Equal Voice Network, Arise is planning a Grassroots Leadership Conference for early next year. The goal is to build closer connections between advocates across lines of race, ethnicity, language, gender, income level and geography. Our partners include the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Alabama Institute for Social Justice, Greater Birmingham Ministries, VOICES for Alabama’s Children and the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.
This network originally formed to build bridges across lines of division. And in times of crisis, the relationships that have been built are especially valuable. In planning this event together, I’ve found that coming together to work toward a joint purpose is profoundly uplifting.
Stay tuned for more information on this event in the coming months. But in the meantime, I hope you’ll reach out to build your own connections and support people in your own community who face so much fear. Please let your neighbors know they are not alone.
We will continue to fight efforts to chip away at human rights protections.
You have so many opportunities to speak out to protect human rights and human dignity. One step you can take right now: Speak out today to protect SNAP against yet another administrative attack. Arise members have fought off dozens of such attacks over the years – and we will continue to do so.
Another opportunity to learn more and speak out on the issues that matter to you is to attend Arise’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 7, in Montgomery. You can find details and registration information here.
Every action you take matters. I hope you find encouragement in coming together, in organizing and in building a state where all people have the resources they need to live – and to thrive – free from fear.