Recent heartbreaking and maddening events, once again, remind us of the extreme disparities in the Black experience in America. Civis stands with the Black community, and it’s time we confront the uncomfortable truths and emotions elicited by an honest examination of our society, and more importantly, ourselves.
This isn’t about calling out white supremacist or other fringe rhetoric; it’s about looking inward and recognizing — and saying aloud — that we live in a world where the majority of us have been conditioned, consciously or unconsciously, to view Black lives as inferior or expendable. This toxic mindset underpins widespread, institutionalized racism that, when coupled with policing tactics long in need of major reform, results in an oppressive and dangerous system that subjects the Black community to a different, lesser standard of justice than the majority of Americans. The unsavory truth that the color of your skin determines whether you have better, safer, and fairer access to the rule of law is one of the most egregious and inequitable privileges of all.
We must also recognize that a majority of Americans, particularly white Americans, experience seemingly insignificant privileges in their daily lives that the Black community cannot take for granted. The majority of Americans can take their time in stores and coffee shops without being shadowed by security and asked to leave, the majority of Americans can walk the streets of their own neighborhoods without their neighbors calling the police, and the majority of Americans can bird-watch in Central Park without worrying that strangers will weaponize their skin color to bring an onslaught of police officers down on them. And when most Americans or their children get into minor trouble, they don’t worry about being shot by police because they have a far greater margin of error than their Black brothers and sisters. These are the realities of our society, and the hard truth is that most of us are complicit.
Changing these dynamics may seem insurmountable, but all change starts somewhere. We’re at an inflection point, and Civis is committed to helping society seize this opportunity to make the changes that our country has long needed. We pledge the following:
Now is the time for us all to act. Now is the time for earnest, honorable efforts. “Equal justice under the law” is etched prominently atop the United States Supreme Court and we are invested in doing our part to ensure that these words ring true for everyone, everywhere, forever.