BY BRYAN DUNCAN

I-CARE Inc. unequivocally denounces all forms of racism and white supremacy. Period. The events we have witnessed in the past few months – the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd – are abhorrent and reprehensible. We know that there are many others that have happened over time that did not have the benefit of exposure from a camera recording. Some were recorded and still no justice was served. It is because of these persistent injustices and the overt and covert racism that continues to exist that we vociferously pronounce that Black Lives Matter!

Born in 1965 during the Civil Rights Movement, I-CARE Inc. is a Community Action Agency that works to alleviate the conditions of poverty in our communities and in the lives of individuals and families. From our infancy, we have also been involved in social justice work. Today, because of the links between poverty and race, it is more necessary than ever that Community Action Agencies such as I-CARE Inc. increase their engagement in the fight against racism and injustice. We are calling on all agencies, corporations, elected officials, city and county leaders, and anyone else who wants to see an end to racism in this country to join us in this fight. Racism must end now!

Systemic racism has been an omnipresent problem in our country. The foundations of our laws and many of our institutional practices and regulations are rooted in racism. It is evident in our institutions as African-Americans and Latinx citizens still struggle to gain fair and equal access to housing, employment, and education. We still have extreme disparities in healthcare outcomes. Our criminal justice system displays inequities through sentencing disparities. We still have so much work to do and it will take compassionate people coming together in good faith to address the systemic racism we must defeat.

I-CARE Inc. is proud to be part of a national network of over 1,000 agencies that subscribe to the values of the National Community Action Partnership, our membership association. These values are clear and we strongly support them. One of the value statements speaks directly to our position as it relates to racism:

♦ We believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect and recognize that structural race, gender, and other inequities remain barriers that must be addressed.

Treating people with dignity and respect should not be difficult to do. It requires recognizing and placing value on the humanity that we are each born with. We do that at I-CARE Inc.

Our Promise of Community Action states that Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

We truly do care about the ENTIRE community. It is this caring that compels us to fight against racism. We hope to see you alongside of us on the front lines.

Bryan Duncan is the executive director of  I-CARE Inc.

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