The Staff and Board at Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center have issued a statement in support of those demanding an end to structural racism and racial injustice. #blacklivesmatter
June 11th, 2020
To Our Supporters,
ACLC stands in solidarity with communities across the nation demanding an end to racial injustice, systemic racism, and police brutality. We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others who have lost their lives to racist violence. This country has never fully addressed the most shameful parts of its past, and change is long overdue. It is our shared responsibility to work to eradicate the systemic oppression of Black, indigenous, and people of color in our communities, our region, and our nation.
In order to realize economic and environmental justice in Central Appalachia, we must first address systemic racism and inequality. Far too many low-wealth communities face environmental justice issues like unsafe drinking water and toxic air, and we recognize that these issues disproportionately affect Black and brown communities. As an organization made up of mostly white staff who serves predominantly white communities, we are grappling with the reality that our organization has not done enough. This has to change. We have to change. At ACLC, we are committed to this work. We are undertaking the following actions:
- We will examine our internal policies, hiring practices, board member recruitment, and summer internship program for racial bias.
- We will incorporate anti-racist principles into our current strategic planning process.
- We will provide anti-racism education and programming to our staff and board members.
- We will explore ways to collaborate with aligned racial justice organizations.
- We will make a formal commitment to remain open and accountable to our communities and continue this process of self-examination while supporting the fight for racial justice.
We hope the national groundswell of support for anti-racist action continues to build. We are heartened by recent marches and rallies across the region, including in Harlan, Hazard, Pikeville, Corbin, Irvine, Paintsville, Morehead, and Middlesboro, KY, as well as in Norton and Big Stone Gap, VA. Across Central Appalachia, people are asking “Which Side Are You On?”. More and more are choosing the side of justice. We urge our supporters to join this fight. Structural racism must be brought to an end.
Black Lives Matter.
The Staff and Board at Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center