WHERE WE STAND
We are stricken with grief, horror, and anger regarding the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery… and the countless Black Americans whose lives have been stolen by a culture of oppression based on the color of their skin and acts of white supremacy. Their names continue to roar through streets all across the world exposing the vast inequities Black lives are forced to face each and every day in America.
Black lives lost and inequities caused by institutional racism.
Black lives lost and inequities caused by a militarized police force.
Black lives lost and inequities caused by industrialized incarceration.
Black lives lost and inequities caused by systemic oppression.
Black lives lost and inequities revealed by COVID-19.
What we’re saying is nothing new. There has been a consistent, and repetitive, history of systemic violence against Black and Indigenous people, and other communities of color, in this country since its inception. It is no different here in Rhode Island. We stand on stolen land. We work and live in buildings and institutions made by forced labor.
The Steel Yard is an organization founded on a simple principle of holding a safe space for the community to come together to learn, share, and build a better future. We all have a lot of work to do and we are actively listening, learning, and evolving. The Steel Yard will always stand in solidarity with Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, and People of Color. At The Steel Yard, we believe that everyone, of all different backgrounds and experiences, deserves access to the education, skills, and equipment needed to directly improve their conditions and their community.
Above all, we value lives and community. Today and every day we join our friends and partners around the globe to speak out against racism, promote a deeper understanding of equity and create a just world that is smarter, kinder, and more creative.
With care & solidarity,
The Board and Staff of The Steel Yard
Please continue reading to learn about some of the steps we are taking at the Yard and local social-justice organizations that are informing our work and supporting the community.
- We will continue to partner with the Health Equity Zone to support a training program and apprenticeship in the Metal Working Industry for underemployed and underserved Rhode Islanders in order to try to address economic inequities in Central Providence.
- We created a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, composed of both staff & board, to suss out where inequities exist within the organization and develop strategic solutions to dismantle these systems of oppression.
- We will leverage our platform and programming to amplify the work of social change leaders.
- We will continue to build a Board and Staff of diverse backgrounds, voices, history, identities, stories — and make space for them to effect positive change in our organization and community.
- We will continue to demand racial, economic and environmental justice.
- We are committed to educating ourselves on police violence and anti-racism in America. We encourage our community of Yardies to do the same.
- We will not tell the community how to feel, how to protest, how to mourn, or how to articulate grief.
LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS & INITIATIVES TO SUPPORT
- AMOR – an alliance of grassroots organizations, providing community support in Rhode Island and southern New England for victims of hate crimes and state-sponsored violence. Providing mutual aid to BIPoC Providence residents during the COVID-19 epidemic.
- DARE – local grassroots organization, mobilizing Providence communities for social, political, and economic justice since 1986.
- PrYSM – a leading force behind the Community Safety Act, a city ordinance passed on June 1st, 2017. It was developed after years of community meetings about how the police should function in our community and how to hold them accountable.
- FANG– provides jail support and bail funds for incarcerated RI and MA folks, including protesters
- Providence Student Union – youth-led advocacy and organizing around getting police out of schools
- SURJ – SURJ’s role as part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society. That work cannot be done in isolation from or disconnected from the powerful leadership of communities of color. It is one part of a multi-racial, cross-class movement centering the leadership of people of color.
- RI Solidarity Fund – Donations to the Rhode Island Solidarity Fund go directly to community organizations that are working nonstop to meet the needs of our community members who are most at risk of severe consequences in this crisis across Rhode Island. This ranges from low-income renters facing eviction to undocumented workers and people in prison.
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS & INITIATIVES TO SUPPORT
- Black Futures Lab
- Campaign Zero
- Center for Policing Equity
- Movement For Black Lives
- National Black Justice Coalition
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- White Supremacy Culture from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun.
- 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge (food systems) resource page
- Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas
- The Danger of a Single Story TED Talk
- Talk on White Fragility
- Resource Page, US Dept. of Arts & Culture
- Anti-Racism Syllabus by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
- Scaffolded Anti-Racism Resources
- The Hardscrabble Riot of 1824 Makes Providence a City
- Black Community ‘Hit By Two Pandemics’
- The New York Times, “Anti-Racist” Reading List