We want to be part of the solution.

Dear Friends:

We are heartbroken and outraged about the long history of police brutality against African Americans in the United States. We grieve with the survivors of systemic racial violence in this country.

We stand with all who condemn racism and violence in all its forms, starting with the trafficking, torture and enslavement of Africans some 400 years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the racial inequities that are the result of a deeply entrenched racist and unjust system. The school-to-prison pipeline perpetuates injustice, discrimination and state-sanctioned inequality. Twice as many black children as white live in poverty and are, from the beginning, set up for a life of poor health and education, and few opportunities. This does not paint a picture of a democratic society.

We want to be part of the solution. As a board and staff, we have embraced principles of equity and social justice in our work. We are committed to learning from community members of their experiences and seek their wisdom to advance our work in a way that intentionally addresses inequities. We continuously educate ourselves on the history of this country, its legislation, and the cost of privilege to understand the reasons for such inequity. We support advocacy initiatives intended to level the playing field. We support mentoring collaboratives and school partnerships to address the immediate needs of students in vulnerable circumstances. We convene thought partners and provide grants to organizations that have the values, knowledge, commitment and capacity to bring about positive change in our community.

We need to do more. We need to seek out, nurture and support local grassroots organizers and activists. We need to be present at rallies, vigils, hearings and community gatherings and support “Black Lives Matter” and other organizations calling out for social justice and racial equity. We need to support youth activism.

We need to act and be present, unequivocal and unapologetic in our support for equity and social justice. We need to lend our voice and our name where it matters. We need to share the power of philanthropy to advance basic human rights.

We pledge to do all this and more. We are guided by our values to work harder towards our vision of a healthy, thriving, sustainable Eastern Connecticut with greater equity for all.

In Solidarity,

Maryam Elahi
President & CEO

June 4, 2020