“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Dr. Martin Luther King
Peaceful protest, civil disobedience and the right to peaceful assembly are Constitutional rights that must be protected, without fear of retaliation, injury or death. Ongoing statements from those elected officials condemning protests and inciting violent action highlight the systemic and institutional racism that is killing our non-white and LGBTQ+ citizens. Protests across Kentucky this week ranged from police and protestors standing together in solidarity, to tear gas and rubber bullets without warning on the peaceful protesters in Louisville last Friday. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, and many others from communities and native territories across our nation, died at the hands of those police and citizens with histories of violence that went unchecked by a culture of hate that treats our non-white citizens as less than human. May we never forget their names….Breonna. George. Ahmaud.
Racial justice begins when policies and practices empower economic, voting, social, diversity and multicultural education, health care and environmental justice. We must support the protesters’ call for change in police policies that are reasonable, well thought out, and promote greater transparency and accountability on the part of law enforcement across Kentucky. We must examine racism and microaggressions in every profession, place of worship, community agencies and in our own homes. And we will use our votes for leadership that will fight against systemic racism and for equity and inclusion!
Every day, acts of oppression and discrimination against non-white individuals happens in our state and country. We must be accountable and intentional to the language we use to educate each other, our citizens and our elected officials about anti-racism, white supremacy, white privilege, structural racism, diversity and how we foster civil and productive conversations with respect to our unique life experiences. We must check our own biases by reflecting on our Code of Ethics and how we engage our non-white clients, community partners, and our peers. NASW-KY is committed to empowering your professional expertise, lived experiences and resources for social justice conversations, webinars and educational opportunities because we cannot become complacent or complicit in our anti-racism work in Kentucky.
Lastly, we want to acknowledge and support YOU as we collectively mourn the overwhelming feelings of loss of innocent lives due to racial violence and COVID19 pandemic. We must begin at a place of hope. Of truth and trust. And we must move forward in empathy.
In peace and solidarity,
NASW-KY Board of Directors