Dear Facing Forward Family,
Chicago has joined protests around the world demanding justice and accountability in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others across the US whose lives have been taken by racial violence and police brutality. These protests reflect decades of grief and indignation over the institutional and systemic racism perpetrated against Black communities and other communities of color in our country.
We share the pain, sadness, and anger felt throughout our community and stand in solidarity with these peaceful protests and the need for social justice and collective healing.
As Facing Forward works to end homelessness in Chicago, we understand that without conversation and action to address racism and promote healing in our country, the challenges our clients and community strive to overcome are compounded. In Chicago, while the Black community makes up less than one-third of our city’s population, it represents over 70% of the homeless population. This overrepresentation is largely due to a history of racist policies, including housing policies in Chicago that have created deeply segregated neighborhoods. These policies, magnified by community disinvestment, lack of economic opportunity, and insufficient access to quality healthcare continue to marginalize people of color in our city.
As we navigate a global pandemic and acts of violence that have disproportionately affected minority communities, we must not be complacent. We call for change, for compassion, for justice, and for healing. We call for prayer and reflection, and for a better America for all of us. We urge everyone to consider ways to be an active ally in healing our city, our country, and our world from racism and violence.
Moving forward, our housing policies, which have been an expression of racism, must become tools for justice and social healing. To learn more about the links between racism and homelessness and to become a more effective advocate, visit the links below:
• National Alliance to End Homelessness
• Chicago Community Trust: The 1619 Project and Chicago’s Centuries of Racism by Policy
• National Collaborative on Health Equity: Community Strategies to End Racism
Rev. Douglas Bradshaw,