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Listening, Learning, Standing in Solidarity
6/4/20

Dear Friends,

Like you, I’ve spent the week since George Floyd’s murder watching the protests, the brutal responses to peaceful protestors, the calls for justice and action, and the too-often inadequate responses from those in power. This state-sanctioned violence and murder is not new — it is just more visible as it is filmed and shared in the public eye and makes more of us aware of the imminent need to address the systemic racism in our communities.  

I’m also reflecting upon my own privilege, the role of racism in our country and culture, and how Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) can best serve our patients, staff, and supporters. I am working to recognize my own shortcomings and continuing to learn and listen to Black people and people of color in our community, who are giving me feedback and holding me accountable. Systemic racism is part of our economy, our culture, our governments, our health care system and our institutions, including PPNNE. Until we acknowledge it, we cannot address it. It spills out in the ways we have failed to reckon publicly with our history, the make-up of our leadership at national and affiliate levels, our underinvestment in work aimed at engaging communities of color, and even our health care delivery. It ultimately stands in the way of fulfilling our mission to achieve reproductive freedom for all. 

As public health providers, we have organized and mobilized to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure we are continuing to serve our patients, our staff, and our communities. The epidemics of racism and violence against Black people are also a public health crisis and demand the same commitment from us. We are actively addressing the implicit bias and systematic racism that exists in our own organization and in our communities. We pledge to engage in a long-term examination of racial justice in our work.

In this moment, we commit to supporting and making space for the Black organizations and leaders already at the forefront of this fight. Below are some local Black-led organizations, allied organizations, and resources:

 

Vermont

 

Maine

 

New Hampshire

We also know that as an organization founded and led by white people, we can help other white people understand white supremacy and racism and the necessity to engage in anti-racism work.

Here is a list of anti-racism resources

Activist Andrea Ranae noted that anti-racism is not an identity or a checklist; it’s a practice. PPNNE is committed to this practice. We hope you will join us. 

Yours,
Meagan Gallagher
President/CEO