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A Message from NCCJ President and cEO

05/29/2020 04:35:31 PM

May29

To our NCCJ Family, 

NCCJ is devastated, heartbroken and incredibly angry about the multiple, horrific acts of racism that have taken place over the last few weeks. It’s not that these acts of hatred are new – they have always been an awful part of America’s history. What is new is that we now have phones that can capture photos and videos of racist events. Social media channels that can immediately publish these images for all the world to see. And technology that enables the news media to broadcast the apparent racist behavior of some in law enforcement in real-time.

We now can see racism playing out before our eyes. 

Despite these awful acts, local and national leaders ask for calm and patience, and urge protestors to do it peacefully. All while white protestors can storm a state capital armed with automatic weapons protesting their right to get a haircut without consequence. And government and law enforcement leaders have the temerity to tell a wounded community that they need more evidence to arrest the perpetrators of a murder. Captured in front of eye witnesses. Live on video.

And if this wasn’t appalling enough, these despicable, racist events are taking place during a global pandemic – a healthcare crisis that has been particularly shattering to the black community. According to the CDC, black Americans continue to make up a disproportionate share of COVID-19 fatalities, as the number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic exceeds 100,000 in the U.S.  What’s more, nearly 25% of reported COVID-19  deaths in the U.S. are black Americans -- even though black people make up only 13% of the U.S. population.

But despite what we see with our own eyes and what the statistics prove without a doubt, the reality gets ignored: racism is a systemic problem in our country.

White racism is playing out on our cell phones, TVs and Twitter channels. Though we are sickened by these vile events, we thank goodness for today’s technology and communication channels, which make it impossible to conceal the truth. That you can be reported to authorities for birdwatching while black. Arrested for reporting while black  And that you can even lose your life for jogging or sleeping while black. Every day, black Americans are reminded that they are not seen, that they are not valued and that humanity is not something that applies to them.

This has got to stop.

So, while NCCJ remains devastated, heartbroken and incredibly angry about what we are seeing – we are now even more determined to continue to fight acts of bias and hatred. NCCJ will continue to champion social justice, and work toward building stronger and more inclusive communities – not just for some of us, but for all of us.

Cynthia L Martin, President and CEO, NCCJ

Sat, 26 September 2020