This week, GRuB signed on to a letter calling for policy changes in our community related to race equity. The letter is addressed to Thurston County elected and appointed leaders, and was drafted by a group of regional non-profits under advisement of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Communities. The list is wide-ranging, including topics as diverse as policing, denouncing hate groups, and protection for renters.
GRuB’s mission is growing healthy food, people, and communities, and, at the top of the list in the letter is a statement to declare racism as a public health emergency. Our immediate community experiences this daily, in individual and collective ways; these inequities are compounded across generations, and show up across all aspects of our community life from health to economy. Close to home, the Olympia School District reports disparate educational outcomes based on race, and we see this echoed in the experiences of youth in our own programs. The actions outlined in this letter address fundamental community health and safety needs such as housing rights, access to counseling, financial assistance, and shifting from punitive to restorative systems. Although not all are areas where GRuB directly works, we know that they have very direct impacts on individuals’ health and on that of our community as a whole.
It is time for GRuB to take a more active and public stance against racism and other forms of oppression. Racism is complex; it shows up in acts as seemingly small as one-time unintentional interpersonal interaction, and as big as a federal policies that have been in place for generations.
These complex roots call for a multidimensional response. As individuals, we are called to reflect on our own privilege and opportunities, and can hold ourselves and our neighbors accountable to personal growth and actions that dismantle racism.
And, with GRuB’s 20+ year history, we have organizational privilege, resources, and opportunities to bring to this moment in time. Internally, we seek to shift our organizational culture to reduce barriers so that more people can access GRuB’s resources and thrive in our community. Externally, we can join a collective voice and use our organizational resources and connections to leverage change, and to encourage our supporters to do so as well.
We are grateful to be included in a coalition of peer organizations who are listening to the needs and requests of Communities of Color, and who are calling for a wide range of policy changes that will redistribute resources to those who face the deepest disparities. We join together to hold ourselves and each other accountable, and we call on our elected officials, business partners and other neighbors to do so as well.