To the western Massachusetts community:
Yesterday, a jury convicted Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The jury found Chauvin guilty on all three counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Millions of Black Americans are relieved that finally accountability has prevailed in a justice system that too often has failed to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the wrongful killings of Black individuals.
This has been a hard year for Black Americans and so many marginalized ethnic groups in the United States, including LatinX, Native American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, who have all been traumatized by discriminatory rhetoric and racialized violence. COVID-19 has also done great harm to these communities, inflicting significantly higher mortality rates while Asian Americans are wrongly blamed for causing the pandemic.
As cases of racialized violence and injustice in other parts of the United States have become major topics of national conversation, western Massachusetts has also experienced a recent string of hate crimes.
The Food Bank was saddened this winter to learn that the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield was gutted by a series of fires that authorities are now calling hate crimes and arson. This is a blow to the region’s Black community, and we are thinking of our colleagues and participants next to the church at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Center, with whom we partner to distribute healthy food to all in this community who need it regardless of their circumstances.
Systemic racism is an underlying cause of food insecurity and hunger because it denies people of color equal opportunity to live, work and thrive. We stand in solidarity with our staff, individuals experiencing food insecurity and our local partners to grieve and call for change during this crisis in which systematic racism, individual acts of hatred and food insecurity have wrought havoc on our region and nation.
It is heartening that despite sickness and trauma, collective strength and resilience in our local and national communities continues to grow. Calls for solidarity by people of color, supported by their allies will advance social and economic justice and community wellbeing for us all.
Staff at The Food Bank have collected links to pieces that may provide you with additional perspectives. There are many more resources available, but we hope you find these few articles useful.
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
Staff Picks: Articles, Books & Blog Posts:
Celebrating Black Joy as an Alternative Form of Resistance and Reclaiming of Humanity (Voice of OC)
Column: What will make people care about police shootings of Latinos? (Los Angeles Times)
Invisibility is the Modern Form of Racism Against Native Americans (Teen Vogue)
Native Americans Want to be Included in Race Talks (Voice of America)
OPINION:Lesson unlearned: Why Black and Latino residents are at the back of the vaccine line (Boston Globe)
Opinion: Being Black in America is Exhausting (Washington Post)
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Systematic Inequality: How America’s Structural Racism Helped Create the Black-White Wealth Gap (American Progress)
The Black-white wealth gap left Black households more vulnerable (The Brookings Institution)
The Eternal Fantasy of a Racially Virtuous America: How partisans on all sides overlook the brutal legacies of white supremacy (New Republic)
Why are We Here?