COLUMBIA, Md. (June 4, 2020) - Black Americans are grieving and they are tired of shouldering the weight of racism and injustice.
We have watched what has transpired in Minneapolis with horror, with anger and with heartbreak. We watched what transpired as an all too familiar scene. As a housing organization who sees in our work every day the impact of systemic racism, and as human beings who believe in universal principles of compassion and justice, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the death of George Floyd, and of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, the list goes on.
This time, systemic racism showed up in these devastating headline tragedies, but often it is found in smaller, everyday looks, words and acts that go largely unchallenged. It shows up in the drastic health disparities of Black Americans so disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and the economic fallout. It shows up in the legacy of housing policy and disinvestment we confront every day in the communities Enterprise has worked in for nearly 40 years. These injustices underscore a basic truth: our mission as an organization and the progress of our country are not achievable until we address the racist structures that have led us here.
Words, of course, are only words. They can't quiet the feelings we have right now or bring justice to George Floyd, his family, and the many other families across our country who have felt personal tragedy like this one. But words do matter, for words lead to action. And we at Enterprise are blessed with the opportunity to take systemic racism head on in the acts we do every day. We will continue to commit ourselves to that work so that one day statements like this one in response to the violence we recently witnessed are no longer familiar.
That is why Enterprise stands with our communities and partners to demand more: more accountability, more action, more concrete steps toward racial equity. It is why racial equity will be central to our work as one of our leading pillars of our forthcoming strategic plan. It is why we are also looking inward – listening to our employees, to our residents, to our market offices across the country and, in turn, listening to their community partners. By making racial equity part of the fabric of our organization—from employee professional development plans all the way to the investments we make and our meetings on the Hill—Enterprise will model the systemic change we wish to see in our country, and we will be better for it.