“Survival is . . . learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change . . . [R]each down into that deep place of knowledge . . . and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.”
– “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” by Audre Lorde

 

Dear Neighbors,
There are no words, but there are plenty of emotions. Personally, we are furious and sad and ashamed and scared by the continued extrajudicial executions of unarmed Black people in our country. We at ONE Neighborhood Builders stand in solidarity with the Black community.
In this time of national crisis, Covid-19 has brought into the sharpest possible focus longstanding, unacceptable inequities facing people of color. In our historic neighborhood of Olneyville, the average lifespan of residents is fully nine years lower than that of residents of other Providence neighborhoods. The systems that lead to such appalling injustice cannot stand.
Our organization holds a deep commitment to racial justice, both among ourselves and as we engage with the communities we serve. Through our health-equity work, we address root causes of health disparities—and structural racism is the most notable and persistent issue among them. We consider the effects of ongoing racial injustice through the lens of health equity. As we work to build a more just and equitable Rhode Island, we hold the following truths as core learnings from 30 years of work in our neighborhoods:
  • Institutionalized racism and discrimination are the root causes of heath disparities between White people and people of color.
  • People of color have significantly higher rates of chronic diseases due to a range of social determinants of health—including (but not limited to) unstable housing and a lack of access to living-wage employment.
  • The stressors resulting from living with chronic anxiety, triggered by fear and anger from living in a racist society, exacerbate chronic health conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.
  • Individuals with chronic health conditions are far more susceptible to highly infectious diseases like Covid-19.
  • All people deserve a community free of racism and discrimination, where residents do not have to live in fear.
  • Our Central Providence Health Equity Zone (CP-HEZ) is working hard to address the root causes of health disparities and invest in people and share lasting solutions rather than quick fixes.
  • This work involves everyone: Each community member is part of the solution and has wisdom and experience to offer.
  • We honor and listen carefully to the wisdom and lived experiences of people of color, both on our team and in the community, and make sure this knowledge informs our work.
  • ONE|NB works to dismantle all forms of discrimination. We fight the systems that oppress people from a vast range of identities and experiences. However, we hold that the experience of Black people in this country is unique. Due to the kidnapping and enslavement of Africans and federally sanctioned structures dating back centuries that persist through today to target and disenfranchise Black people, Black lives are singularly threatened. Naming this truth does not diminish the discrimination experienced by all our neighbors, but it does inform our stance at this heartbreaking moment.
In solidarity,
ONE Neighborhood Builders
ONE|NB

Author ONE|NB

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