I hope you’ll join me in honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at one of our community partners events across our region taking place throughout the weekend:
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As the dire circumstances of our country escalate each day, the words of Dr. King often reverberate in my mind, as reminders of our history but also as moral guideposts for our present and future. They motivate me to keep moving forward—reminding me why we must take action every single day, even in moments that might feel hopeless.
They also remind me that, especially as a white woman, my energy and my effort cannot falter. I cannot let apathy or inaction creep in because of the privileges I hold. I must keep front and center the truth that a crucial goal of our movement is to end racism and dismantle the racist systems and institutions that perpetuate it.
Ending racism and addressing its profound impacts on our community is critical to our work at Pride Foundation each and every day. People of color, and especially transgender women of color, continue to be most impacted by the injustices that threaten the dignity and humanity of so many in this moment.
Just in the past few weeks in our region, a North Idaho man was found not guilty of a hate crime—by an all-white jury—after he was caught on video screaming racial slurs at a group of teens at a McDonald’s.
In Bethany, Oregon, a family woke up to their black Santa decoration slashed with a knife—while all of the white Santas stood tall in the yards of their neighbors. And in nearby McMinnville just a few days later, a white woman was arrested after spewing racist expletives and threatening a black couple with a knife in a parking lot as they feared for their own lives and for their 15-month old daughter in the backseat.
On New Year’s Eve, a man of color was shot and killed by police in North Seattle—and a third-party investigation has been launched to determine the truth behind this tragic loss of life.
Every day across our region, ICE continues to tear families apart with detentions and deportations, even in the midst of a government shutdown. Just last week, our regional staff person in Central Washington accompanied a 60 year-old man to a routine court date, where he was targeted and detained by ICE agents.
Last Sunday, less than two weeks into 2019, we learned of the tragic murder of Dana Martin, a transgender woman of color in Alabama.
This is the reality of the impact of racism in our communities, and these are just a few examples.
We lift up these stories to acknowledge the truth of this reality. We take action because this level of cruelty and injustice has to end. We refuse to be silent because this is not the world that our communities deserve.
And yet every day, we remember that despite it all, hope, light, and goodness continue to exist in this world and that this reality is not inevitable or our only option
And once again, I am reminded of the words of Dr. King, who saw racism at every turn and whose life was taken as a result of this racism, held deep hope for our world:
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Ultimately, it is this hope and our collective action that will bring to fruition our vision of a world where all people live safely and openly as our whole selves in the communities we call home.
Katie Carter is Pride Foundation’s Acting CEO.