We are rising up and calling for justice. With protests filling the streets and town squares throughout the Hudson Valley, in communities all over the country, and now also across the world, the depth of our frustration, rage, and grief is hard to overstate. The senseless, tragic deaths of so many people of color has brought us to this moment. We will not tolerate living silenced in a place that claims to stand for freedom and the pursuit of happiness, and instead terrorizes and oppresses so many. As a nation, we have not dared to confront the deep inequities and suffering that exist due to our history of slavery, and the racism that permeates our society. But now, it seems that more of us are ready to speak out and push hard to make sure this is a moment that brings true reform and healing in its wake.
All of us at GWI stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand for Just Transition, with its five interconnected principles, because we believe in the possibility of a different future with racial justice and social equity at its core – a future of diverse, equitable, thriving, local communities. Racial justice is the principle of Just Transition that we must focus on now, with urgency. That means every one of us needs to look both inward and outward, to take action within ourselves and out in our communities, and see where we may be falling short. Are we complicit with white supremacy? Are we truly acting from a place of practicing, proactive antiracism? Where can we build solidarity and power to affect change?
We are living through a cataclysmic perfect storm, a once-in-a-century crisis: a global pandemic, an economic collapse, and a long-overdue reckoning with entrenched, corrosive, fatal racism. We are by now familiar with the staggering statistics here in the US: over 100,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, over 40 million unemployed, hundreds of thousands of small businesses already gone and up to a million potentially projected to fail. Communities of color are getting hit the hardest by all of this, disproportionately.
Our Good Work is being called for, louder than ever. Our vision of a regenerative economy and a just society, based in Just Transition and communities’ self-determination, is emerging in our region. It is showing up in mutual aid, in the swelling protests and the peaceful gatherings in solidarity, in communal grief and statements of demands, in the search for new answers and new ways of doing and being. It is also showing up in the acknowledgment of white privilege, in the stress and fatigue in our Black and brown communities, in a definite shift in public discourse around police violence and the scourge of incarceration, in a more transparent view of the reality of people’s lives right now.
It is up to us to stand for Just Transition, hand in hand, with faith. What seemed impossible only months ago is happening. We are out in the open, with all the complexity of this moment revealing the scale of the work to be done, and a dawning understanding of all the many hands ready to do it.
Aja, Caitlin, Hélène, Micah, Susan, and Terri
Worker Trustees of the Good Work Institute
Image: We march in solidarity in Kingston. Photo courtesy of @radiokingstonny