PennFuture Solidarity Statement
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Darrell Banks. Tony McDade. Atatiana Jefferson. Nina Adams. Antwon Rose. Tamir Rice. Ricardo Giddings. Brandon Tate Brown: Ten Black lives stolen by police in recent years, among the more than 1,000 people that police have killed since 2013. Last year alone, 54 percent of those who died as a result of police violence were people of color.
These are lives cut short because of systemic racism in American society. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police is yet another reminder of this seemingly intractable racism, his dying words – “I can’t breathe” – literal and figurative assertions of generation after generation of suffocating injustices.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, we have seen black communities protesting state-sanctioned police violence only to be met with tear gas, rubber bullets, and a militarized police force. PennFuture stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the fight to end violence and all other manifestations of systemic racism. We do this in part because we recognize the connections between racism and the protection of clean air, water, and land.
Black, brown, and indigenous communities are disproportionately burdened by polluting refineries, contaminated water, and toxic dumping. This is environmental racism. Black children are twice as likely to have asthma as white children. This is environmental racism. Movements of black people in public parks and open spaces are policed and controlled. This is environmental racism. And environmental racism is systematically causing the premature death of black people and other people of color.
In the face of overwhelming evidence of environmental racism, the traditional environmental movement, including PennFuture, has largely remained silent on racial justice issues. That is, until recently. At PennFuture, we have begun the long process of actively incorporating anti-racist practices. With expert guidance, our team will begin to shine a light on implicit biases and blind spots to transform PennFuture from the inside out.
We grieve for the lives lost, the communities trampled, and the voices silenced by racism in this country. We are committed to uncovering the root causes of this suffering and repairing the harms after decades of silence. In solidarity with Black Lives Matter, we embrace an inclusive and equitable environmentalism that affirms all Pennsylvanians’ rights to a healthy environment.
In peace and solidarity,