July 19, 2021
Last month the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called for states to “uproot” systemic racism. YWCA South Hampton Roads completely stands by Michelle’s statement, “Systemic racism needs a systemic response. There needs to be a comprehensive rather than a piecemeal approach to dismantling systems entrenched in centuries of discrimination and violence.”
Now, as conversations begin to fade, and the hard discussion becomes fewer and further between, we need to make a conscious effort to continue the fight against institutions and systems that perpetuate racism and injustice. We can’t continue to let prevalent issues like racism take the back burner. Our power is in our ability to speak up, be heard, and affect change in our community.
In more recent news, the UN is working to form a panel to look at the root causes of systemic racism in policing. “A panel of three experts in law enforcement and human rights will have a three-year mandate to investigate the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing, including the legacies of slavery and colonialism, and to make recommendations for change. It will look at issues ranging from excessive use of force, racial profiling, and police handling of peaceful protests to links between racial supremacy movements and the police and the criminal justice system.” While many countries will benefit from this panel, the United States will see a unique benefit. After George Floyd’s murder in May 2020, we saw an increase in people paying attention to these persistent and startling issues. A year after his death and what changes do we see?
Now is the moment we continue discussing what racial justice and equality look like in our world.
President Biden has since invited UN racism and human rights experts to visit the United States. As a part of his campaign promises, Biden has called upon the UN to address racial injustice and inequality. We find strength not in shrinking away from past mistakes, but in recognizing their faults and addressing the ways in which we affect real and measurable change. It isn’t enough to talk about it, we are here for action.
We face the fight against systemic racism daily, unafraid. We won’t stop until BIPOC are seen as we see them – Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable. Consider contributing to our programs working to eliminate systemic racism.