Building Black communities from the inside out – BRIC by BRIC
That 9 minutes and 29 seconds is forever ingrained in my memory. The conversations -- between my two Black sons and me, in the office, in the community, and across the country ripped away the preferred blinders. The savage murder of Mr. George Floyd at the knee of police was a worldwide shared living nightmare. America's unfinished business with racism and equity forever lay exposed.
In the days and weeks to follow, the world demanded change. Racial justice! In the face of 400-plus years of racism and systemic oppression, progress has been slow, halted by law, policy, and practice rooted in historic power and privilege. But this world-witnessed murder was a case NO ONE could turn away from. We marched and screamed ourselves hoarse for change. Some elected officials, corporations, institutions, and foundations blanketed the airwaves and social media, declaring their commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), to change... to do better, to be better.
Two years later, our nightstands are drowned with books --How to Be An Anti Racist, 1619 Project, White Fragility, and Caste, to name a few. My multiple personal journals sit full of sadness, anger, exhaustion, and sporadic moments of hope, all wrapped in the steady heartbeat of Black resilience.
While some state legislatures have approved police reforms, corporations and foundations have hired DEI officers, established Black community-focused funds and initiatives, and community organizing racial justice efforts remain vigilant. The equitable world that our ancestors and we envision is a long way off. Progress (its degree varies by who you ask) has been made, and OUR work continues.
Devastatingly, Mr. George Floyd is not the last name on the list of Black men, women, and children brutalized and/or killed by the police. Black-led and serving organizations continue to work on the frontlines, championing community-led solutions to racial inequities. Public commitments to DEI have struggled against the deep roots of racist systems, bias, and whiteness. The work of addressing one's individual role that perpetuates racism has been gladly shelved to turn to the reopened semi-post COVID world.
So, what now? What's next? Complacency has no place here. We must use whatever resources within the locus of our collective control to advocate, influence, and elevate the universal benefits of a racially equitable world. We are each accountable for taking action to create the world WE SAY we wish to see.
Those 9 minutes and 29 seconds marked the end of Mr. George Floyd's life but did not define his life as a Black man, son, brother, father, and member of the Black community. His life, described in stories from family and friends, was filled with successful milestones, challenges, and resilience.
That familial connection to the Black community's resilience fuels our journey to shift from surviving 400-plus years of racism and systemic oppression to thriving, and it is where the Black Resilience in Colorado (BRIC) Fund, with generous community support, planted its roots in June 2020.
Two years later, the BRIC Fund deepens its resolve to strengthen Colorado's Black communities by:
Being led by and integrating the diverse voices of Colorado's Black communities
Educating ourselves about laws, policies, and practices to change those that harm and exclude US
Collectively investing OUR 5Ts – Time, Talent, Treasure, Testimony and social Ties, increasing how we historically and culturally invested in Black-led efforts driving our own progress
Participating in Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) coalitions to build power, leverage and change through organizing, advocacy and policy
Serving as a perpetual community container to receive and distribute resources to positively impact Colorado's Black communities
Bridging and connecting with anti-racist efforts of white allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators to dismantle racism
We do all these things in an effort to elevate and increase the Black narrative of history, resilience, and giving to build Black communities from the inside out – BRIC by BRIC.
In gratitude & solidarity,
Director, BRIC Fund