I just want to start by acknowledging that I know I haven't been as active or responsive to all of my emails and other forms of communications as I usually am. I've been trying to still get things done and respond to folks as efficiently as possible, but I am aware I'm not as fully present as I usually am. The injustices faced by People of Color on a daily basis has been taking a toll on my mind, body and soul (on top of still trying to navigate the current pandemic situation). The recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hand of United States police officers, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of United States citizens has been weighing heavy on my mind, as well as the other lives that have been lost due to similar situations in recent years. As a "black" man in America raising a "black" son I find it frightening and at times hopeless to attempt to live a normal life in this country, this country where I was born, and my parents were born, and their parents and generations before them leading back to the times of slavery.
The systematic racism that this country is running on is more apparent than ever, and it breaks my heart to realize there are some that still don't see it or care to acknowledge it. I have attended local protests and seen first hand the way the local authorities have responded to the citizens who they have sworn to protect, I have also seen the way agitators in the crowds have played a part in attempting to tarnish these protests. While at times things seem like they may never get better, I do have a great appreciation for the people who have reached out to me personally to check in, and to those who I have seen speaking out and showing up to battle these injustices in various ways. When I look and see faces of all colors standing together to show the world these injustices won't stand, it inspires me to hold on to hope and keep my faith that maybe things aren't as dark as they may seem. So, I want to say thank you to everybody that is invested in this fight, and I hope that you are down for the long ride, because it's been a long one and there's a lot of work to still be done.
On behalf of myself and the Community Garden Network that I coordinate I wanted to make sure to let it be known where I stand, and let it be known that I'll do everything in my power to fight against these injustices that I myself face as well as many others.
~Isa Whitaker, Community Garden Network Coordinator