loading ...

Black Lives Matter – A Letter From Our Executive Director

June 3rd, 2020

Black Lives Matter – A Letter From Our Executive Director

The tragic murder of George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic have painfully highlighted the extreme social and health inequities that exist in our Country. As more and more video footage surfaces of the protests, the riots, the anger, the fear and the pain, I realize that my heart is broken and my soul is enraged.  The fact that some fringe elements, not aligned with the mission of Black Lives Matter, have hijacked the protests for their own destructive goals only deepens the wounds.

There are people who go into police work for the right reasons and are good cops. I have family members in law enforcement that I love and respect. But, let us not be confused about the message here. We must hold any police officer that commits murder to the same community standard as all of us are held to. No one is above the law. The good police officers must root out and reject all members of their force that do not abide by the laws of our Country and the laws of Humanity.  They cannot be complicit, passive or silent. And standing with us now in a time of protest, after another murder, is not enough.

It is not too late for all of us to stand together with our black brothers and sisters, all people of color, immigrants, members of the LGBTQI2S community, the unsheltered, the mentally ill, the addicted, the low-income workers, the unemployed, and the uninsured. We must demand the end of the systemic racism and oppression of people who are poor that creates the environment for the tragedies that we are living through to develop and thrive. Silence is violence. We must speak up and speak out!

All of us at Ritter Center see every day the devastation that these health and social inequities cause in the lives of the people we serve. Homelessness and all of its terrible consequences are the symptoms of a Country that has lost its way. Our Society must protect its most vulnerable and must ensure the equitable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for every American. Through Ritter Center, that is our work, that is our mission.

This is an election year – an opportunity to hold our leaders accountable for making the change that is needed to create a more equitable society. Our vote this November is vital, and I stand with you and all the staff and clients of Ritter Center to work for a society that works for all its people. Change is needed. We must be part of the solution.

In solidarity, we stand with #BlackLivesMatter.

Mark Shotwell
Executive Director
Ritter Center