In Grief and Solidarity
Dear Beloved Community of Project HOME,
This is a moment of deep trauma resonating throughout the Project HOME community, Philadelphia, America, and the world. In this time of anger and mourning we wanted to speak out and share our perspective on recent tragic events. We reach out to and stand with all our community—staff and residents—knowing that we are predominantly people of color, and that we work for housing, healthcare, jobs, and education in communities of color.
The murders of George Floyd—and before him, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery—expose the power and ongoing presence of unhealed centuries of racial oppression in this country. As a diverse community, we realize members of our community may carry this trauma differently, but we unite in the horror of these deaths, our rejection of racism, and our ongoing work to create beloved community in the face of hatred and division. We recognize a system which has repeatedly failed to hold its agents accountable for racial violence has unleashed the riots which are now devastating our community.
Since our earliest days, Project HOME has been seized by the vision of Beloved Community—the very vision that compelled Dr. King and the civil rights movement—and which proclaims that every person is precious and worthy, every person has dignity, gifts, and value, every person has the right to flourish. Our present system is denying that to people of color. We cannot be silent. We cannot stop fighting for racial justice.
Beloved Community begins when we embrace the reality of human pain and struggle and come together to bring about compassion and justice. At this moment, that vision of Beloved Community is being severely tested. The murder of George Floyd has unveiled the worst demons of our nation’s racist history and the painful reality of severe systemic inequities.
Within Project HOME, we have been critically discerning how complex issues of race and power impact our own organizational life and work. We feel the challenge more urgently to continue that work, including this week and moving forward ensuring healing and caring spaces for residents and staff who are especially impacted by the trauma of racial violence. In the next few days, we will be sharing concrete next steps about that. We must deepen our unwavering commitment to Beloved Community, and challenge any societal obstacles to the dignity, rights, and full humanity of each and every citizen.
We join our voice with all those communities, organizations, and movement who are seizing this moment to demand a greater national commitment to real social transformation and racial justice. We recognize the rage that fuels many in severely distressed communities who bear the burden of systemic racism. We also affirm the need for nonviolent protest and efforts for communal healing and justice.
We will persist in our mission of addressing core societal issues of racial injustice and economic violence through affordable housing, real economic opportunity, access to quality education and healthcare—and in continuing our own work of organizational learning, transformation, and hope.
We will continue to believe in the possibility of healing. On behalf of the leadership teams at Project HOME, we commit with all in our community to do the work to get there.
In grief and solidarity,
S. Mary Scullion