LISC Detroit calls for calm, patience and vigilance

LISC Detroit calls for calm, patience and vigilance
OPINION by Tahirih Ziegler, Executive Director, Detroit LISC

We are currently experiencing a double pandemic of a deadly virus and the disease of racism on Black communities across our nation. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Mike Brown. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. These are a few names of Black Americans that have died by the hands of law enforcement or other falsely empowered Americans. There is no reason or rationale to justify the occurrence of this type of inhumane brutality in 2020.

The negative impact of Black citizens seeing other Black Americans murdered by the police or others can be traumatic. It impacts how Black Americans operate daily living their lives while trying to avoid volatile interactions with law enforcement officers. These officers have taken an oath to protect all citizens and every community. We understand that the oath of protection does not always apply to Black citizens or their communities. The prevalence of social media and technology has exposed the frequency and brutality of this violence on Black lives to the global stage and it has exposed the ugliness of American racism to the world.

The past few months have been difficult. We are still experiencing a contagious global pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black Americans. Meanwhile, the disease of racism has continued to inflict centuries of damage on Black citizens. America and the entire world is feeling the physical and mental toll of both the virus and racism. There is real pain in the hearts and souls of many good people. However, we have to turn that pain into action. We are not hopeless or helpless. We must have the willingness to make a real change to heal, ensure the safety and provide opportunity for all.

We hear the voices of the protesters and the demands for justice reform including the immediate need to dismantle systematic racism.  We support their call to action to overhaul the justice system to ensure that every citizen, regardless of race, is treated fairly.

LISC stands in solidarity and ready for action with Black communities everywhere – especially in Detroit, where Black residents exceed 80% of the population. We are working to support neighborhoods, residents, community leaders and small businesses that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19 or structural racism. In our work, we are doing more than just watching the news or feeling empathy. We will continue to lead and demonstrate with actions to elevate the voices of those negatively impacted by inequities.  This has always been the center of our work. We will call out decisions and policies that support systematic racial bias. We will join residents, colleagues, elected officials and stakeholders to prioritize, endorse and enact policies that promote racial equality.

Since 1990, LISC has been committed to investing in neighborhoods and residents in Detroit.  LISC Detroit will continue to support affordable housing and small businesses.  We will continue to serve Detroit as always in the spirit of dismantling inequalities and stand fearlessly against systemic racism.

Black Lives Matter. Black Lives have always mattered. Black Lives will always matter.  Our work will not be done until the Black communities across our nation feel safe, respected, supported, prosperous and whole.

Remember to be calm, be patient and be vigilant.


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