June 4, 2020

From Our CEO: The IC Stands in Solidarity

Dear friends,

Like so many others in our country and across the world, I am horrified by the murder of Georgedifferent races holding hands in protest Floyd. Even more horrific is that this is not an isolated incident. Only recently, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Tyler were also killed, and they are continuations of unspeakable acts of injustice Black Americans have lived with every day in the United States over the past several centuries.

To our staff, consumers, clients, and friends who belong to the Black community: The IC stands firmly with you and Black Lives Matter. I understand many of you are angry, frightened, and in pain right now. Please know that The IC is here for you. We will stand up for your right to have a voice, have equal protections, and feel safe. We promise to listen, to learn, and to support you in any way we can. If you feel comfortable, please let us know what you need right now. If not, the invitation is always there.

In fighting for equality and accessibility, the disability community has a loud and often radical history. To combat racism and ensure justice for communities of color, we must also lift up our voices and take action. Recurring acts of violence demonstrate that there is no neutrality in the struggle for racial justice. Racism thrives because too many people have stayed silent or have flatly denied that it is alive and well inside ourselves, our systems, and our policies. It is not enough to simply disagree with racism. Real change will happen only when each of us commits to the life-long work of unlearning and challenging racism.

Now more than ever, we need to show up for one another with actions of courage and love. Here are a few suggestions to get started.

Personal Action

  • If you are white, please check in on your loved ones who are people of color, offer them support, and respect their boundaries.
  • Follow Black teachers and authors, including Bernice A. King, Ibram X. Kendi, Rachel Elizabeth Cargle and Austin Channing Brown.
  • Refrain from resharing videos of violence against people of color. While they can initially be helpful in shedding light on injustice, studies have shown that repeatedly seeing these images, especially in the absence of justice, can create lasting psychological damage.
  • Support local activist groups led by people of color, including NAACP Colorado Springs and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).
  • Learn about Contemporary Antiracism Resources.
  • Donate to organizations that are working for racial justice, including Black Lives Matter 5280, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and The American Civil Liberties Union.

Local and National Action

Beyond our personal actions, we need larger systemic change. We support the NAACP’s statement below on the steps that need to be taken, and encourage everyone to work towards these goals on both a local and national level. For more information, visit https://www.naacp.org/.

“This is the time for systemic changes to policing in this country. We need federal, state, and local reforms which impose strict police accountability, limit the use of force, eliminate racial profiling, de-militarize law enforcement, track and report data, and ensure proper screening, education and training of all officers. Local law enforcement agencies receive federal funding and must be made to comply with federal civil rights laws.”

I encourage you to take extra care of your physical and mental health right now. Please reach out to The IC at 719-471-8181 or info@the-ic.org if we can assist in any way. And if you have an urgent mental health need, call Colorado Crisis Services at 844.493.8255 or text the word “TALK” to 38255.

Sincerely,

Patricia Yeager, CEO
The Independence Center