Dear friends – 

When we witness the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis or the murder of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma, our hearts break.  Not only for these two men and their families, but also because these instances are only two recent examples of a larger pattern of police brutality towards Black people.

Black Lives Matter and police brutality must stop. 

As an organization, we are thinking deeply about how to respond most appropriately not only to these most recent episodes of police brutality but also to our country’s long history of institutionalized racism.

Given Common Threads’  focus on food education and food access, we recognize that the complicated relationship between food and race dates back to the time of slavery.  Here in Whatcom County where so many of our neighbors are brown and indigenous, we also take responsibility for stating emphatically that farm worker rights and indigenous rights matter.

Amongst our board and staff, we are asking ourselves how best to address the places where Common Threads’ mission and racial equity intersect. These questions are messy and even among people of good will, we are learning that we don’t always agree. 

We actively embrace the opportunity for on-going, gut-wrenching reflection and dialogue.

As we continue this work:

  • We pledge, as a predominantly white-led organization, to take responsibility for looking inward to identify, acknowledge, and repair injustices within our organization. 
  • We understand that dismantling racism requires an ongoing commitment to listening to and learning from Black voices and those of other communities of color as we walk on the path to equity, inclusion, safety, and freedom.
  • We understand that this particular moment calls for our hearts and ears to open wide to understand the experience of being Black in America.

There is a long road ahead. We are committed to listening, learning, and acting long after the protesting ends. 

None of us are safe until all of us are safe! 

In solidarity,

The Common Threads Team