Like so many of you, the past week has been a struggle for me and my LAEDC colleagues. It began with the tragedy of the murder of George Floyd as he pleaded for his life while a Minneapolis police officer sworn to protect and serve the people of his community kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and three of his fellow officers stood by, watched, and did nothing to intervene as Mr. Floyd’s life cruelly and unjustly ebbed away before their very eyes.
When the news and social media continued day after day to transmit the video recording taken by a bystander in the moment, we confronted and relived the horror of it all.
All across this country we are struggling as Americans to understand how such injustice and disregard for Black lives can continue to exist in our supposedly civil society.
But our struggle to comprehend such inhumanity and put into words what it means to us, and put into action what we must do about it, pales in comparison to the struggle that the Black community has endured for the past 400 years across this land.
Slavery, lynchings, segregation, red-lining, and other injustices have left deep and painful scars in the psyche of African-Americans that I can never hope to fully understand. I cannot truly feel the depths of their pain because I have not lived it.
And yet I found myself in tears over the weekend watching not only African Americans of all generations but also people of every other race and ethnicity marching together with them and pleading for justice and equity.
I pray those marches lead to real change, not only in our criminal justice system, and our education system, but in our economic systems that have institutionalized the inter-generational poverty that afflicts far too many of our Black communities.
My colleagues and I at the LAEDC, as an organization committed to “advancing opportunity and prosperity for all”, are committed to doing our part to let our voices be heard and our services be delivered in a way that contributes to real change. We are convinced that if each of us, as individuals and collective groups and organizations, commits to real change we can yet achieve it.
-Bill Allen, CEO