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Racial Justice Demands Changes to Structure
A Conversation Whose Time Has Come
In recent unscripted remarks, President Obama called for a national conversation about structural racism. As someone who has always believed that true change begins with a conversation, such a clarion call should resonate with us locally as well. “Racial justice demands changes to structure”. This simple statement is the starting point of the conversation that must prompt us to look into ourselves for the roots of racism. SCCCCOR, the Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism, recently completed the first in a series of workshops and trainings created to identify and work toward ending systemic racism throughout our county. We can all do this work by reaching out to the community to raise awareness about the patterns of systemic racism found throughout our county and particularly within its institutions.
By focusing on the impact of racial injustice within the public sectors of education, employment, housing, law enforcement, health care and immigration, we can begin to address the sometimes-unintended consequences of policies and programs that disenfranchise people; and particularly people of color who are systematically held down or held back by the idea, the history or the culture of racism.
Just as importantly, the conversation must include a “call to action” including public education and community organizing designed to equip community organizations and individuals to challenge structural racism from an anti-racist perspective. In our community, structural racism is an all too pervasive social condition that manifests itself in immigration policy, educational bias and law enforcement policies that perpetuate racial profiling. We must know the structure of these institutions to effectively deconstruct them. And that is also a part of the conversation.
But this is a conversation that neither SCCCCOR nor the NAACP can have alone. Everyone needs to join into the conversation to revision and create the programs and initiatives which will change forever the way in which we live together as people and move us closer to the day when we will all truly be judged, not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.
Please join the President and us in that conversation.
Contact SCCCCOR by email at info [at] overcomeracism.org or on line at overcomeracism.org.