Toward a New Normal: Centering Racial Equity
Dear Friends of TNDC,
TNDC stands with our neighbors, staff, residents, and the national community who demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless Black lives that have been brutally taken by police. These names are the lives protestors are fighting for. These are the lives at the center of all the conversations we are having right now.
This past week reminds us of a long and traumatic history of police brutality against Black people. It’s a reminder of an entire community’s pain, grief, and anger and the incomprehensible toll that five centuries of oppression takes on the Black community’s mental health and well-being, among so much more.
We believe every person, regardless of race, deserves the right to live and to thrive. TNDC’s work in Homes, Health, and Voice—building affordable homes, improving health and well-being, and amplifying the voice of those we are in service to—is built on that belief. But that work must be grounded in the reality that structural racism and White supremacy pervade the system in which TNDC operates. There is a direct line from eight decades of state-sanctioned racist housing policies to racial inequities in housing, in homelessness, in health, in the over-policing of Black and Brown communities, and in the ever-widening gaps in income and wealth. We cannot succeed in reaching our vision of a just world without centering racial equity and dismantling those underlying structures.
And that includes dismantling systemic racism within our own organization and work. TNDC is composed of and primarily serves people of color, and we acknowledge our role in perpetuating these harmful structures and our responsibility to dismantle those systems. We are committed to centering racial equity and transforming from within, and I am committed to leading TNDC toward becoming an anti-racist organization by ensuring people of color are represented and valued at all levels of our organization, influencing policies that dismantle racist structures, and more.
Amid the pandemic, many long for “a return to normal”, but we must refuse that “normal.” We must recognize that it’s in times of crisis that the opportunity for profound social and economic change is most ripe. We must change. We must be on the road to racial equity. And we must hold each other accountable for building a better, more equitable world.
Donald S. Falk, CEO