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ANNOUNCEMENT: What we are doing during the COVID-19 Crisis

Black Lives Matter

Elizabeth Appelquist

We have been left raw by the hate-filled violence that has been waged in the last weeks against those in the black community through police brutality right in front of us all.

For years racism has raged, often hidden in our communities and across the globe. We, however, live in a rather secluded part of the world. The town of Easthampton is 94% white and nearby towns are fairly equivalent. Lennie and I have both lived in big cities (Boston, Miami and Los Angeles) and have traveled extensively all over the world. We have been exposed to all colors and creeds over the years. We’ve always welcomed all in our personal and professional lives.

But until I saw on video George Floyd’s death played out explicitly at the hands of a police officer in broad daylight did I begin to more fully understand the extent to which so many members of our black communities have been marginalized, demeaned, unappreciated, and not listened to. Part of that is because they couldn’t speak out and fully stand into who they really are. It wasn’t safe. Sadly, it’s still not. But at least many of us are now beginning to see the rawness of it all and take actions with a renewed interest in embracing our black and ethnic communities full on.

This is not a political issue. It’s a human issue. A human fight to be able to live and breathe and work and play side by side, equally with all. Our lack of vision in this direction diminishes who we are. It’s now time to no longer look away. It’s time to act by first looking within and changing perceptions so we can move forward with a united heart.

Black voices matter. Black lives matter. Life is precious.

We stand in solidarity with those in our communities who are speaking out and yearning to be heard. We eagerly look for ways that we can help and to stand and fight side-by-side against racism wherever it may be. It’s a fight worth fighting with all we’ve got.

We see you. We stand with you. We are listening.

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