4 Essentials of Antiracist Statements by Institutions of Power
Many institutions here in St. Louis have adopted the language of Racial Equity but have yet to embody the deeply transformative nature of the vision. Institutions with economic and social power must hold themselves to a higher standard for the region to move forward, demonstrating our antiracist commitment with more than our words but with our actions and resources.
With racial inequities amplified by COVID-19 and continued police violence, Forward Through Ferguson has noticed a trend of statements in St. Louis that tried to meet this pivotal moment in US history but fell short. As more and more were released, patterns became clear. After reading the statement by Regional Chamber, Civic Progress, and Regional Business Council, I decided to put together a list of essentials for antiracist statements from institutions with economic and social power.
1) Explicitly name systemic racism, police brutality, and white supremacy and center Black Lives Matter.
Say the words. While symbolism can be empty without action, it’s vital that we’re naming the problem clearly and specifically.
2) Acknowledge the historical roots of racism and take responsibility for personal and institutional roles in perpetuating it.
We are all, in different ways, complicit with a status quo of systemic racism. Institutions — organizations, businesses, governments, media — with cultural, economic, or political power must acknowledge and take responsibility for their role in perpetuating inequity.
3) Cite specific action steps to combat systemic racism internally and in your sphere of influence. Commit to progress reports.
St. Louis has more than its share of deeply community-engaged, resourced, and synthesized plans for action. Don’t let the external work distract you from applying a critical lens internally. Now is the time to reimagine and redesign the status quo.
4) Commit to a bold reimagining & reallocation of resources to Black communities, initiatives, organizations and bring receipts.
It is the time to divest from systems and ways of being that uphold systemic racism and intentionally invest in achieving Racial Equity, particularly under the leadership of BIPOC.