NAHO Denounces Death of George Floyd and Underlying Structural Racism

 

We have heavy hearts, due to the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and less recent murders and acts of violence against Black Americans. Due to a history of structural racism and discriminatory policies against people of color in Arkansas and the United States, we acknowledge that existing racial disparities stand in the way of our goal of ending hunger. We are aware that communities of color need additional targeted support and commit as an organization to work towards that. Programming is only one aspect of our work that we must examine. Using a racial equity lens when considering grants is another. Committing to a more diverse Board and work place, as well as engagement in internal and external conversations, are others. The Alliance is committed to working for public policy that roots out structural racism, and ensures access to quality and affordable food.

The Alliance works with many national anti-hunger organizations, and we are grateful to NAHO (the National Anti-Hunger Organizations), for the following statement:

The National Anti-Hunger Organizations (NAHO) denounces the persistent structural racism that
continues to plague our society. We condemn the killing of unarmed African American men and women and are
deeply disturbed by the inhumane and violent death of George Floyd at the hands of the police.

While Americans are asked to shelter in place to protect their health and well-being, African Americans have lost
their lives at an alarming rate to COVID-19, police brutality and at the hands of those with inherent racial biases.
This senseless violence has resulted in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta and Breonna Taylor in Louisville,
and cost the dignity of countless others including Christian Cooper in New York City. It is not enough to just say
their names; for our country to truly heal, we must surface and address the deep social disparities and racial
biases that are driving the current outrage and protests.

As anti-hunger organizations we understand that structural racism is a root cause of hunger and poverty, and
that rates of hunger are at least twice as high in communities of color. For decades, communities of color have
faced structural barriers, and as a result their white counterparts are more advantaged in employment, income
and education because of systemic racism. COVID-19 has exacerbated these disparities with African Americans,
Latinxs, and Native Americans experiencing higher death rates, food insecurity, and loss of employment. The
clear connections between race, wealth, and health are unavoidable and unacceptable.

The recent events are just the latest examples of a long history of systemic, structural racism and poverty and
we should not expect communities of color to bear the burdens of society’s injustices and inequities. We share
the outrage of communities caught in the legacy of structural racism and poverty. NAHO will continue to
advance and demand public policies that ensure all communities have equitable access to food, health, shelter
and economic opportunity. We also commit to shining a light on persistent racial biases in these public policies.
When children and families have access to the basics they need to live and thrive, their economic outlook,
health and educational outcomes improve. And when families thrive, our society thrives.

We must advocate and insist on a society that is just, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist. One where
institutional racism is rooted out, and where the dignity of each individual, regardless of race or color, is
embraced and respected. A society where one’s race is not a destiny for poverty, violence or hunger. In this
moment, we recommit our organizations to ending structural racism and advancing racially equitable public
policies that ensure access to healthy and nutritious food for all.

Signed by: The Alliance to End Hunger; Bread For the World, Congressional Hunger Center; Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center; Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Meels on Wheels America; No Kid Hungry; Results; Society of St. Andrew; and WhyHunger.