Housing California’s staff and board share in the sorrow over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery—and in the goals laid out by the Movement for Black Lives to prevent another single Black victim of racism and white supremacy.
We hope that the grief and righteous anger that so many of us feel, as well as the abiding love for Black communities and the will to create a more just society, will move us towards a new normal and an undoing of structural and institutional racism that permeate countless facets of our lives.
As advocates for safe, stable, affordable homes in equitable, inclusive, and prosperous communities, we are focused on eliminating the institutional racism that prevents Black Californians from accessing this fundamental right. The same structural racism that creates and tolerates police violence against Black people also maintains segregated communities and perpetuates homelessness and housing insecurity among Black communities at alarming rates.
We take seriously our responsibility to reverse these injustices and undo the historic oppression of red-lining and other official discriminatory housing practices that have deprived Black communities of equal opportunity for generations.
Our responsibility includes turning inward to reflect upon our own role in creating lasting change. Housing California is committed to advancing the movement for racial justice, supporting our own staff who are impacted by racism, and reflecting on our own biases. While words of solidarity are important, our actions must reflect our stated commitment. That is why we are taking some small, concrete steps right now and will continue to explore how we can do more. For example, Housing California is matching staff donations to racial justice organizations; signing up for anti-racist training and deeper equity, diversity, and inclusion work; and ensuring the demands for justice are heard widely and taken seriously.
We also know racism does not stop at our front door, and we must do more to ensure all Black Californians have safe, stable, affordable homes. We call on state policymakers to immediately pass legislation that will open up historically exclusionary and racially segregated communities, ensure funding for developing and operating deeply affordable housing, and provide rent relief for struggling Californians. Housing California has long advocated for these policies and will continue to partner with race-centered coalitions to enact them.
As we do this work, we will continue to listen to Black resident leaders, partners, and colleagues, and show up as a committed ally. We know that creating a new normal requires all of us to be in this together. Count us in.
In solidarity, strength, and gratitude,
Lisa Hershey, Executive Director