Rooted in Resilience (formerly Bay Localize) Reflections on What This Teaches us About Community Resilience
Rooted in Resilience (formerly Bay Localize) stands in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin not only for the loss of their son, but in light of the racial and systemic injustice that perpetuated it. Racial justice work is community resilience work because part of building equitable and resilient communities is creating accessibility for everyone. You cannot have a resilient community if this does not exist. Everyone should have the right to fully participate in their community, feel safe doing so and not feel targeted. This means the ability to walk the streets, ride public transportation and take advantage of the climate resilience we advocate for without fear, and without being criminalized. The tragedies of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant are reminders that people of color remain exempt from basic human and civil rights, which is a violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and should be not be tolerated.
The harsh reality is our country puts more people of color in jail (1) than through college (2). Trayvon Martin was a bright black young man on his way to college, who instead was stalked and murdered by George Zimmerman, who stripped him of his right to walk in public, and suffered no legal ramification. This is not justice.
We need to take active steps forward in creating true resilience and equity. We can empower ourselves to do this in our communities by:
- Ensuring community assets, such as streets, parks, public areas, and public transportaion, are safe and accessible for everyone
- Learning how to build resilience and equity in our communities as a way to combat racism – see Bay Localize’s “Roots of Resilience” group discussion tool.
- Seriously re-thinking funding and resource allocation to educate, inform, and sensitize existing systems that perpetuate racism
- Mobilizing to make it a priority for leaders and officials to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions
- Signing on to the ColorOfChange.org campaign and demand that the US Department of Justice bring federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman, and end the senseless violence perpetrated by unaccountable vigilantes and police due to racial profiling.
While the notion of boycotting BART may represent a reaction to how the element of enforcement, justice and safety has failed people of color, it is not a viable response to be forthright in our demands for racial justice and racial equity. We cannot allow the color of ones skin or choice to wear a “hoodie” define and determine access to our basic freedoms and livelihood, which should be afforded to all. Racial injustice affects everyone and building resilient communities is about solidarity.