These past few weeks have been difficult as we continue to hear about new incidents of police violence against Black communities. While I’ll never know how it feels, I want to acknowledge that I’m mindful of how difficult it is to show up and carry on day-to-day activities as Black bodies and Black lives are treated as disposable.
We know that systemic racism isn't limited to police departments: it’s entrenched in the systems that built and continue to uphold American society. Police forces across the country are strong-arming and killing Black people before our eyes, all while Black people are trying to survive a pandemic that disproportionately affects their health and economic security.
I felt a huge sense of relief when I heard the verdict declaring former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd earlier this week. And then I immediately thought of everyone in my life for whom this decision doesn't actually change their experience of being unsafe in our communities. This is a long road, and we aren't going to let up.
That’s why we’re taking action, and we’ll continue to use our voice at Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley (PPPSGV) to advocate in favor of eradicating racial injustices. Here are a few of the steps we’re taking:
- We are investing time and resources in our PPPSGV staff and board of directors to address the systemic barriers in our organization. We acknowledge that there are aspects of our affiliate’s operations that are deeply undergirded in bias and white dominant culture, and influence how we lead and interact with others. The diversity, equity, and inclusion task forces are coming up with actionable steps to create necessary change within our organization.
- We join the advocacy organization Planned Parenthood Advocates in supporting Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill that would mandate that law enforcement policies in California require officers to immediately intercede and report potential excessive force when they witness abuse. A letter was submitted in support of Assembly Bill 26 this week.
- We stand in support of Planned Parenthood Federation President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson in denouncing the legacy of our founder Margaret Sanger’s racist alliances and belief in eugenics. Alexis authored an op-ed in The New York Times on our path towards denouncing the history and legacy of anti-Blackness in gynecology and the reproductive rights movement, and the mistreatment that continues against Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in this country.
To dismantle systemic racism, we must stand in solidarity with those demanding change. These recurring incidents of violence and attacks on Black lives make the fight for justice and racial equality that much more urgent.
President & CEO
Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley