We share in the national groundswell of sorrow, outrage, and mourning after the most recent wave of Black lives taken by violent acts rooted in racism, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade. And our sorrow for the few we can name is heightened by our mourning for all those whose names we do not know, including those who have died in the ongoing pandemic that has disproportionately taken Black lives.
Every aspect of our American lives is impacted by racism and anti-Blackness, from our country’s founding to policing, economics and employment, health and housing, and climate and environmental impacts. Black Americans are three times more likely to die at the hands of a police officer compared to White Americans. Black Americans live in the most polluted areas of our communities and face one and a half times as much toxic particle pollution as the population at large, leading to more asthma, cardio-vascular illness, and other health problems in Black communities. In part due to these health disparities, Black Americans are three and a half times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to White Americans. All of these statistics grow out of the long-established systemic racism that is life threatening for Black Americans.
We must recognize these truths and own them — because that is the only way we can overcome them. The Rose Foundation believes in and fights for racial justice, economic justice, and climate and environmental justice, which are inextricably bound. In fact, the environmental justice movement we know today was born from the work of Black organizers addressing the racial, health, and environmental impacts in their communities. As a part of this movement, we know we will only reach a climate-safe and environmentally just future for our communities when we build a racially just one.
For over 25 years, we have stood for communities and community power. We know that our communities thrive when people are involved in the decisions affecting them, their families, their neighbors, and the world around them. We commit to continuing to support communities through our work, and to bring resources and tools to youth and community-led projects that address the critical social, racial, economic, and environmental threats they face in California and around the country. We insist that justice matters, community matters, Black lives matter.
— Jill, Tim, & the people of the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment