Love, Accountability, and George Floyd

A statement from our CEO and Founder Joyce A. Rivera

The nation is gripped in a battle for its soul.  The murder of Mr. Floyd by a police officer who took a knee on his neck will forever live infamously in our memories and a battle of resistance is underway.  We have watched on a daily basis how the current administration has looted the treasury with giveaways in the trillions, directly and indirectly, to corporate cronies.  Along with the erosion of environmental protections and Supreme Court appointments the destruction of our ‘union’ has been an active project of this administration. 

The anger that has been cultivated by this administration has engulfed us in a swirl of forces that plead for leadership.  On June 1st, we saw the Nation’s highest employee clear peaceful protestors with military force and weapons in order to deliver a photo-op.  The pretense of leadership was laid bare by cameras that captured the gangster strut, the gangster scowl, and to complete the picture, the ‘Price is Right’ product placement of a closed bible that would not or could not be opened, its words tightly shut and silent.

We all yearn for healing; for a leadership that recognizes the social and economic misery that is foundational to our country.  There are 40+ million unemployed, over 108,000 of our brothers and sisters who have been taken from us by the failures of this administration to respond adequately and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have Latinx brothers and sisters in cages at the border; Latinx children who will never see their parents and family because they were ‘lost’ and placed without accountability in unknown homes/organizations.  The War on Drugs has been an institutional screen for processing communities of color and screening out our young men and women for long-term incarceration, family destruction, and community poverty.  The No-Knock Law that allowed officers to storm a home and murder Ms. Breona Taylor are on the books in 13 states with an additional 20 states routinely granting no-knock warrants.   The drug-related stigma that blinded the people of this country to the inhumane punitive harm leveled at drug users has only recently come to light because the illicit drug trade with its arc of destruction has exponentially grown safely underground in ALL communities regardless of class, race, and ethnicity/race. 

This is a time to hold each other with respect for the dignity of all that is living.  The individualist philosophy that leads to me-myself-and-I is a fabrication.  A social construction that will never recognize our collective work and our shared humanity.  We must actively work to recreate a world built on the simple truth that the solitary image in the mirror does not exist in the social world of humanity.  Our mirror image does not reflect our relationships; neither our hopes and dreams nor our struggles in those social relationships. 

SACHR is a place of safety for our community.  A sanctuary wherein we provide resources and where we enact social justice.  “Justice is what love looks like in public,” said Cornel West.  We cannot enact justice if we are not about making life better for everyone.

My friend and colleague Rev. Luis Barrios says that “There is no love without accountability.” We have managed to thrive throughout COVID-19 without surrendering our commitment to social justice – expanding and adapting our services to meet the unique needs of our time. Every day I draw inspiration from the incredible work performed by our staff of whom I am so proud. Here at SACHR, we stand ready to meet the challenges ahead as we have in the past: by leading with empathy, practicing mercy, and offering safety. We invite you to join us in those practices as we create a more compassionate and equitable future together.

In solidarity,

Joyce