Dear Hidden Villa Community,
The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and many more people who we have left off this list, have once again exposed the violence and racism faced by the Black community every day. The killing of Black people is unacceptable. The institutional and systemic racism present in this country is unacceptable. As an organization built upon a foundation of inclusion, social justice, and community, we need to speak out loud and clear: Black Lives Matter.
To our Black colleagues, program participants, and communities – you matter. Black children and youth matter. Your lives matter. We stand with you.
We recognize that we have to work harder to better educate ourselves, to speak up, and above all, to amplify the voices of those who are marginalized.
This past week was filled with uncomfortable, yet meaningful discussions among staff and board members about how we, as an organization, can take action toward racial equality and justice in this country.
First, we must truly embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in all parts of our organization. Hidden Villa acknowledges that we have work to do. We commit to engaging in self-reflection, recognizing our role in the system, and laying out an explicit plan of action to actively uproot and prevent systemic racism.
This is a journey. It will take time and we must listen. In the coming weeks, we will establish an internal staff team to develop an action plan around anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will continue to seek help from outside experts, reach out to our community partners, and embrace what we learn into our new organizational culture and strategy.
And as many of us are looking for ways to better understand the issues at the heart of the struggle and to take action, we would like to offer the following ideas on how we might support the core message of equity and understanding.
Learn: Hidden Villa strongly believes that through education we can plant the seeds of change. There are plenty of books, films, podcasts, and articles with information on the history of racism, slavery, and the Black experience in this country. Seek to understand the ‘why’ behind the movement. And if you are interested in finding more educational resources we have provided the links to multiple resource pages below.
Discuss: Be brave and engage your friends and family in a round table discussion. No doubt this is a difficult subject, but use one of the books, films, podcasts, or articles as a basis to center your discussion. Remember the objective isn’t to argue or debate, but rather to connect and grow. Listen and learn. We encourage you to turn these discussions into action.
Get Involved: Vote, reach out to your local, state and federal officials and make your voice heard. Now is the time to use our voices and our votes. Sign petitions, make calls, send emails and join local initiatives. Join an affinity or accountability group like Showing Up for Racial Justice or Together We Will to learn how to become a better ally.
Donate: Support nonprofits who represent initiatives that uplift our Black communities. Here is a list of organizations directly engaged in addressing police brutality in our local community put together by Showing Up For Racial Justice. Below are some local nonprofits that are also directly engaged in addressing police brutality.
- The Anti Police-Terror Project “support[s] families surviving police terror in their fight for justice, documenting police abuses and connecting impacted families and community members with resources, legal referrals, and opportunities for healing” in Oakland and Sacramento, California.
- People’s Breakfast Oakland is a Black Grassroot organization serving the people of Oakland. Currently they are using donations to help raise funds for bail for Black protesters in Oakland.
As we continue this process, we invite input and feedback from members of our community: we want to hear from you if you have ideas about how we can help during this time. We will be back in touch in early July to share our plans to ensure we are accountable, remain true to our values, and share how you can be involved. Please join us all on the path toward a way out and a way forward.
We stand in solidarity and maintain the Duveneck Family’s ideology and legacy to build a “sustainable, healthy and just future for all.” There is no environmental or food justice without racial justice.
The Hidden Villa Board and Staff
P.S. Please share with us your input and feedback.
Black Lives Matter. Say Their Names. Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Michelle Cusseaux, Laquan McDonald, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jermae Reid, George Mann, Matthew Ajibade, Frank Smart, Natasha McKenna, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Mya Hall, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, William Chapman II, Alexia Christian, Brendon Glenn, Victor Manuel Larosa, Jonathan Sanders, Freddie Blue, Joseph Mann, Salvado Ellswood, Sandra Bland, Albert Joseph Davis, Darrius Stewart, Billy Ray Davis, Samuel Dubose, Troy Robinson, Asshams Pharoah Manley, Felix Kumi, Keith Harrison McLeod, Junior Prosper, Lamontez Jones, Paterson Brown, Dominic Hutchinson, Anthony Ashford, Alonzo Smith, Tyree Crawford, India Kager, La’Vante Biggs, Michael Lee Marshall, Jamar Clark, Richard Perkins, Nathaniel Harris Pickett, Benni Lee Tignor, Miguel Espinal, Michael Noel, Kevin Matthews, Bettie Jones, Quintonio LeGrier, Keith Childress Jr., Janet Wilson, Randy Nelson, Antronie Scott, Wendell Celestine, David Joseph, Calin Roquemore, Dyzhawn Perkins, Christopher Davis, Marco Loud, Pete Gaines, Torry Robinson, Darius Robinson, Kevin Hicks, Mary Truxillo, Demarcus Semer, Willie Tillman, Terril Thomas, Sylvie Smith, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Paul O’Neal, Alteria Woods, Jordan Edwards, Aaron Bailey, Ronell Foster, Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose II, Botham Jean, Pamela Turner, Dominique Clayton, Christopher McCorvey, Eric Reason, Michael Lorenzo Dean, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Manuel Ellis, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Nina Pop, Darius J. Tarver, Freddie Gray, Rashad Cunningham, Trayvon Martin, Monika Diamond and the many more whose names we do not know or may have left off of this list.