The pain and suffering of generations of Black Americans run deep across the United States, including right here in Dallas. When calling for justice, we must also put our beliefs into action, which in turn will create better communities in which we live.
Austin Street Center has been on the frontlines for the past 36 years, tirelessly serving our community’s most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged. To this, 67% of our clients served are African Americans, thus it has and remains our position to stand for what is right and serve as advocates for those who need us. Poverty alone does not explain the overrepresentation of minorities we see among the homeless population. The bottom line: People of brown and black skin are disproportionately impacted due to racism. And we must do more.
This is further emphasized by our team members who share personal stories of discrimination, abuse of power, total indifference to suffering, and outright racist acts that have impacted their own lives, as well as the lives of those we serve.
The pain and chaos of current tragedies have certainly been overwhelming; however, acts of injustice against Black Americans, including George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Atatianna Jefferson, Botham Jean – and countless others – has brought us to this inflection point.
Austin Street Center stands in solidarity with our Black community against racism, hate, violence, social injustice, and inequality. As such:
We are frustrated – By a world that continues to disregard the lives of Black men and women while upholding the lives of the privileged.
We are frustrated – By systems that seem immovable, by the power that seems predictable, and by sins passed from generation to generation.
We are frustrated – Over the death of men and women who didn’t deserve it, by those who too often do not pay for their actions.
We are frustrated – By leadership that has been lacking, and by communities hurting.
We are prayerful – That justice will come and bring healing and restoration with it.
We are hopeful – That what has been is not what will be.
Together, we must counter chaos with the right kind of action, with concrete steps each of us must take toward justice. It begins with a commitment to be anti-racist and to love our neighbor – not just the neighbor next door. Then take another step, and another, until together we achieve racial equity and, at long last, true justice.