SHIFT NC mourns the murders of Black people by police in the United States. Most recently, these murders include those of Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade. We also condemn the violence against Christian Cooper. Along with many others, we are processing the life-threatening police phone call made against him in Central Park. The white supremacy that fuels this violence permeates all aspects and every sector of our society. We all must seek to understand white supremacy and the violence it causes, and, as we are able, help our friends and neighbors in their understanding.
As individual people and as a society, we must also identify our biases and look deeply at how our behaviors and policies need to change in order to stop racially charged violence and to demand the safety and freedom of Black communities. It is especially important that oppressors and people holding power – most specifically, white people – must continuously examine and confront their own racism, teach others to do so, and hold each other accountable. Furthermore, white people have the responsibility to actively build understanding, share it with other white people, and hold other white people accountable. To put this onus on Black people perpetuates harm.
Individual and systemic racism have disproportionate negative impacts on young people’s sexual and reproductive health. As advocates, we cannot significantly improve young people’s health without also ending all forms of oppression and racism, including the structural and systemic racism caused by white supremacy and upheld by cultural norms in all sectors of society.
We recognize the need for all people to grieve and process these tragedies, especially our Black family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are most affected. SHIFT NC stands in solidarity with all of you. These events strengthen our own ongoing commitment to anti-racism efforts and to uplifting the lives and needs of Black people. Black lives matter.