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LETTER Say their names
2020-06-10

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Dear community:

SAY THEIR NAMES

Ahmaud Arbery.

Breonna Taylor.

Nina Pop.

George Floyd.

Tony McDade.

Regis Korchinski-Paquet.

We know you are tired. We know you are hurting and filled with anger. We are tired of adding more names to the list of Black people murdered because of the racism embedded in our country. We refuse to give up on dismantling the system made to destroy our communities. We are angry that we are forced to choose between mourning and fighting for justice. For 25 years, Affinity Community Services has chosen to fight for justice and we are steadfast. We are here for you.

Our legacy within the Black queer community means that we are not strangers to what it means to be forced to grieve in silence. Affinity was created by a group of Black queer women who dared to fight against the systems that both silence and erase us. In honor of their legacy, we continue in that fight for Black people.

The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, George Floyd, Tony McDade and Regis Korchinski-Paquet weigh heavily on our hearts. They are our siblings, our sisters, our brothers, and their lives mattered. The systemic racism that leads to police brutality and excessive force against Black people is not new to any of us—it is thoroughly woven into the fabric of this nation. And yet, in spite of our long history with anti-Black racism, we are still here. In spite of the countless reminders from this nation we built that it doesn't respect our humanity, in spite of the countless acts of violence we've experienced, in spite of the countless state-sanctioned killings gone unpunished, we will never normalize or accept racism.

We know you cannot rest until this nation no longer sees Black people as a threat. Affinity will not rest until the communities we serve can rest.

When the structures and systems of this country are rooted in white supremacy and racism, incidents like these occur far too often and go unpunished. Systematic racism breeds hatred and hatred breeds violence. You are fighting to be seen in a country that was not built to see you. Affinity sees you. Affinity was created to see you and to be here to offer space to heal, space to recharge, and space to be seen by each other.

Affinity recognizes the intersections of the communities we serve and how heavy it is to be Black and queer in this country. That is why we offer community space to have authentic, open and honest conversations. In the midst of a global pandemic, we have created virtual spaces for healing and community because we understand that although our economy has paused—it doesn't mean racism, discrimination, nor hatred has paused.

History has shown us the power we yield as a collective.

You have us right here with you.

Board and staff,

Affinity Community Services


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