Regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Murder of George Floyd
As you likely have noticed, OPEN NW has not made an official statement on the BLM movement and the recent protests. We recognize that, as community leaders and an organization that prides itself on inclusivity, our lack of response has been unacceptable. We let our fear of saying something “wrong” prevent us from saying anything. That was a failing on our part, and we need to do better.
Forging forward then and acknowledging our mistake, here is what we have to say.
OPEN NW stands with Black Lives Matter and the ongoing protests against the murder of George Floyd and countless others. We vow not only to continue supporting these causes as individuals but also to ensure that we are enacting anti-racist policies as an organization and providing educational opportunities for members of our community to continually be students of anti-racism. We believe that lives are more important than property and that all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.
Our Valkyries are on standby to take action and deescalate situations in which discrimination or racism is present, whether in online conversation on our organization forums (Facebook, Discord, Meetup, etc.) or at our events both online or in-person when that is safe again. Please feel free to reach out to this resource team when you need support. They are here to serve you as community members. Report specific incidents that have occurred here: https://opennorthwest.org/contact-us/report-an-incident/ or email the team at Valkyries@OPENNorthwest.org.
If you want to take action now to support this movement and bolster your own understanding of what it looks like to be anti-racist, here are some ways to get involved:
– #Dothework by Rachel Cargle is a free 30-day program to unlearn racist biases and start the road to becoming a student of anti-racism. Sign up for the content to be sent to your email here: https://instagram.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?id=1e469b88c0&u=e7528b5266e654d0ce83c211d and consider donating to her cause here: https://www.patreon.com/m/thegreatunlearn.
– Read books such as My Grandmother’s Hands, which addresses the trauma of racism in Black bodies, white bodies, and police bodies.
– And, of course, keep an ear to the ground for ways to support the protests and the protesters directly by attending, serving as an emergency contact, donating supplies, or talking to your own communities about what’s happening. Do be mindful that protesters are under threat of police brutality and outside agitation, so please seek out information about what specific protest(s) you plan to attend and what you should prepare for.
Additionally, if you are a BIPOC individual and would like more of a voice in our community, whether on our board or executive committee, our Valkyries (incident-response team), our volunteer group, or as a co-host of an event, please let us know, and we would be happy to help you with that process.