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Nine Minutes and 29 Seconds

Mural Artist: Justcreatedit

It’s been three years to the day that the murder of a man over a disputed counterfeit $20 dollar bill caused a seismic shift in the world’s definitions of brutality and humanity.

Looking back, it’s clear that every generation experiences a moment in history that defines its values, exposes a problem, and demands a solution followed by action. As a member of Gen X, my mind goes immediately to the savage beating of Rodney King by a mob of police officers and the sparse racial justice that followed. For my two twenty-something old sons (millennials), it is the 2020 murders of Ahmaud Arbery (February 23rd), Breonna Taylor (March 13th), and George Floyd (May 25th) in domino succession. The killings forever shaped their views on humanity, or perhaps more accurately, on the brutality of racism that devours our communities like a long, diagnosed inoperable cancer.

In the three years of endless recounting of the 9 minutes and 29 seconds it took to take the life of George Floyd, we also recount the days, weeks, and months of protesting and organizing. Numerous pledges were made by individuals, companies, foundations, legislative bodies, etc. to invest in righting the horrible wrongs done to generations of Black people. A Washington Post article shared that over $50 billion dollars was pledged by major companies and their foundations from across the country. However, by 2021, only a few pledges had been realized. Meanwhile, the number of Black victims of police brutality climbs higher.

Some white allies, committed to self reflection and re-education, continue to wrestle with their white privilege and admit paralysis when it comes to taking action to address historic inequities and white supremacy. These inequities continue to keep Black communities in the lowest percentile in areas like health and wealth, which ultimately creates a barrier in fully experiencing the rights and opportunities etched in America’s promise.

Black communities need to be unhampered by practices that have kept us from the decision making tables. We’ve been in a whirlwind of readiness to invest in the changes we want to see for ourselves and for future generations. Fully owning our history and embracing our culture that is steeped in practices, prepares us to collectively give, leverage and build upon our assets. And in the winning moments, we must battle back complacency. Systemic change is a marathon which requires training and pacing in order to sustain ourselves for the long haul.

Our greater community (Black and white) has shared values and challenges. Working together, we can solve problems, build upon existing assets, and invest in our future.

When the BRIC Fund was established Juneteenth 2020, the urgency of now was high. Many contributions came from local, regional and national foundations, companies and donors. BRIC continues to raise awareness and resources to support historically under-resourced Black-led and serving nonprofit organizations addressing systemic racism and oppressive practices that plague our communities.

While some foundations and corporations have invested in initiatives, wealth building programs and Black-led and serving funds, nonprofits or community movements the actual investment pales in comparison to the aforementioned pledges. While George Floyd’s death marked a historic moment of racial injustice, it was 400-plus years in the making and the clock is still ticking.

And so, progress is limited. Black-led and serving nonprofits remain under resourced. Black communities struggle to build equity to scale. We struggle to be in a position to exercise our full potential to gain ground and to progress with permanency.

As I reflect today, May 25, 2023, I seek action from all those who sat in the 2020 seat of leadership or may now be accountable by inheritance of that leadership seat tethered to a pledge made in 2020 that has yet to be fulfilled. Please honor it through the investment of your 5 Ts — time, talent, treasure, testimony or social ties.

Let us fully commit to shifting a horrific, inhumane moment into a movement that builds stability, sustainability, and growth. A movement that collectively exemplifies our values, solutions, and actions of compassion, equity, and participation. Now is the time to support the Black Resilience in Colorado Fund - building strong Black communities in Colorado and beyond BRIC by BRIC.

In gratitude and solidarity,

LaDawn Sullivan

Executive Director



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