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A Call for Racial Justice

Health centers were created during the civil rights movement to address racial inequality and to ensure health care was available to the most vulnerable in our communities. In this historical context and in the spirit of our mission to foster healthy communities in our neighborhoods Maple City Health Care Center expresses outrage and sorrow at the murder of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers two weekends ago.

We recognize that all of us experience the effects of discrimination and racism differently. Systemic racism is embedded in our nation’s economy and social structures. To many of us it appears almost invisible, while others of us experience its pain and violence daily.

As a center committed to fostering the health of our community, we commit ourselves to listening carefully to the varied voices in our community, and to listen especially to the stories that are hard to hear—stories of pain, oppression, the decimation of native peoples, and stories that implicate those of us with privilege in that pain and oppression.

Relationships matter. And we commit ourselves to shared work with those whose experience is different than our own. And social structures and initiatives matter. We also commit ourselves to civic engagement.

We condemn the continued violent response by police against protesters. We stand with calls to dismantle white supremacy. We stand with calls to take concrete steps to deliver justice for the victims of state-sponsored violence and racism. Specifically, we advocate for six things:

  1. We are grateful for Mayor Stutsman’s participation in this past Sunday’s protest and his commitment to implementing a community policing model in Goshen. And we feel more can be done. We call on Mayor Stutsman and all members of the city council to work with the Goshen Police Department to ensure our community enacts the 8 Can’t Wait use of force policy— an approach that has been shown to reduce police killings by up to 72%.

  2. We encourage our city leaders to consider what alternatives to policing may look like in our community. For example, we recommend exploring the creation of a Behavioral Health Department to respond to things like mental health crises.

  3. We call on our elected federal officials, U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, and U.S. Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun, to pass H.R. 40 – legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.

  4. We call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of black and brown people.

  5. We call on the President of the United States to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation, and to disavow white supremacists and nationalist groups that support him.

  6. We call on our community to financially support the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other organizations fighting for social justice.

We believe white people must be willing to collectively acknowledge privilege, take responsibility for the ugly parts of our past and their impact on the present, and must commit to working in partnership with black and brown neighbors to create together a future of racial equity in our community.

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