We Have the Capacity to Meet this Challenge.
Today’s blog is written by Molly Talbot-Metz, President/CEO, Mary Black Foundation
The last several weeks have been a challenging time for our country and our community. COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the racial and ethnic inequities that we have been discussing as a result of the Spartanburg Racial Equity Index, tensions are high as people are facing a public health and economic crisis, we saw Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd killed, and frustration is mounting as people protest in the streets. We are all trying to make sense of it, while thinking of ways to keep moving our community forward together.
I was thankful to see the leadership offered this week by the City of Spartanburg’s Mayor, Junie White. In a statement, he said, in part,
In times of profound crisis and conflict, it is essential for true and trusted community leaders to help. To listen. To acknowledge and gain understanding about why their community is in pain. And, through empathy and love, to help bring people together and work to build a better and more just community.
The Mary Black Foundation is committed to being a part of that work to build a better and more just community. We cannot achieve our mission of health and wellness alone. We need to come together – as a community – to address the root causes of inequities. We know that a person’s health is primarily determined by his or her circumstances and that access to opportunities is shaped by the social and community context. We also know that inequities are often the result of centuries of unjust policies and structural discrimination. Because of this, the Foundation has made Achieving Health Equity one of our strategic drivers.
The work that our community needs right now requires us to address our history of race and inequity. Spartanburg is far from perfect. Our community is made up of people who are not perfect. We have made mistakes and we will make mistakes. What gives me great hope, though, is that I see people every day who want to listen, who want to learn, and who want to bring our community together to do better in the future.
The work is urgent, but it will not be easy and we may stumble. Fortunately, there are groups that can help us begin the process of listening and learning. Speaking Down Barriers is a local resource that offers a number of opportunities for deeper discussion, the Racial Equity Institute has resources and training opportunities, and our City has become a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity that also provides resources. We have the capacity to meet this challenge. The Mary Black Foundation is committed to creating a community that allows all people to thrive and I hope you will join us.