Where do we go from here?
What every Black American already knows and what we can only hope people are learning from Jan 6th, 2021, is that racial inequities and injustices are the greatest threat we face in our country. The violent images of white nationalists and Neo-Nazis only tell part of the story. We know factions still glorify the 400+ years of slavery and segregation that haunt our nation’s past. But what was finally exposed to the world is a much graver threat.
We have seen the sitting President and GOP lawmakers attempt to overturn the election based on allegations that were rejected by courts, election officials, and the Electoral College. When court actions and other interventions failed, we watched as the sitting President and GOP lawmakers incited insurrection, with some fighting alongside those white nationalists and Neo-Nazis. We know lawmakers and officials from both parties were targeted, including the sitting Vice President.
Events over the past year indicate a large percentage of White Americans do not understand or believe the severity of systemic inequities and injustices that people of color and marginalized communities face today. They do not see the lasting effects of discrimination in employment, justice, education, housing, health care, and the environment, compounded over hundreds of years. They do not have to navigate the lingering Jim Crow and Jim Crow 2.0 legislation at the state and local levels and the rolling back of legislation at the federal level. We are like two separate countries in our worldviews and that division has been intentionally exploited.
The unrestrained violence that Capitol rioters were directing toward lawmakers is what many Black Americans face in their daily lives. It is dehumanization that allowed people to rationalize slavery, genocide, and segregation and that culture persists today. Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, immigrants and their children, and other minorities are often dehumanized in our culture through legislation, policies, and rhetoric.
The insurrection of Jan 6th and the attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power through violent means is unprecedented, but the culture that gave rise to that event is not new. Jan 6th simply exposed it for the world to see.
So where do we go from here?
The sitting President has been impeached for the second time, rioters are being arrested, and there are more investigations to come. All must be held accountable. Accountability is more than just walking away – it means taking responsibility. We can’t know someone’s heart, but we know if they admit their mistakes and we know if they take actions to undo the damage and ensure it doesn’t happen again. I am waiting for accountability from those who failed to condemn or actively condoned the debunked conspiracy theories, documented lies, and calls for violence. They are culpable for the attacks on our constitution and democratic process and for perpetuating this culture of dehumanization.
With accountability comes healing and we can move forward again to address the root causes of racism and discrimination. We can begin to create a culture of inclusivity, free from dehumanization.
We have been here before as a nation and we know our path forward will not be easy. But on this day, we rededicate ourselves to the hard work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all those who are part of the African American Freedom Struggle, past and present. We recognize today’s Black Lives Matter movement and the young people across the country and the world who are leading the way in grass roots activism. We commit ourselves to learning from young people as well as those who came before us. And we honor those we lost along the way by doing this work.
Our company is committed to expanding our work with local, national, and international partners to address inequities in employment, justice, education, housing, health care, and the environment. Through our Springmatter Fund(www.springmatter.org) we will continue to support efforts to create equitable opportunities for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+, and marginalized communities who are underrepresented and under-resourced.
The events of Jan 6th and 2020 underscore why Dr. King’s unwavering commitment to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence is something we need to embrace and teach to every generation. We will continue to support the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute’s Liberation Curriculum for students of all ages, the work of the King Center, and the Gandhi-King Global Initiative (GKGI) to ensure the education of every generation.
There are universal truths that can guide us as individuals, organizations, nations, and as a human species. Among these are equality, equity, justice, and forgiveness. These truths help guide where we go from here. We will continue to follow a path blazed by the African American Freedom movement and Dr. King, inspired by Gandhi, and now reborn through the next generation of grass-roots activists. Together, we will strive to build the interconnected and inclusive World House and Beloved Community King envisioned.
Black Lives Matter
The attacks on our African American community over the past several months have been horrific, heartbreaking, and unrelenting – but even worse, it is the reality that people of color have endured for generations. It is not new. It is not isolated. The killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police violence and the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery are the evidence of oppression that is widespread and systemic.
The likelihood of being a victim of violence because you are a person of color and identify as LGBTQ, in particular Black transgender women, is staggeringly high. At least a dozen transgender and gender non-conforming people have been murdered so far this year.
It has been going on far too long and the response we are seeing is far overdue.
Equity and inclusion are a core part of our mission. What we’ve seen recently, unfortunately, confirms that we have a long, long way to go. It confirms that we as a people have not been nearly urgent enough.
But we have an opportunity to ensure that the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others were not in vain. We can honor their memories by fighting to change the systems and the culture that led to their deaths. It begins with a pledge.
We pledge to be part of the solution. We are working hand-in-hand with community organizations to meet the immediate needs of populations most impacted by racism, injustice, and inequity, as well as working with community leaders on systemic solutions. We are providing resources to organizations that are addressing the injustices and inequities that exist in education, employment, and health care. Through our Springmatter Fund, which was created with this mission in mind, we are redoubling our efforts.
There is a lot of healing that needs to be done. It starts with listening. Many are suffering from the trauma of the past few months. The violence and abuse of power not only creates fear, but a hopelessness about the future – especially among our young people. We are dedicated to providing safe and inclusive spaces and helping to replace fear and uncertainty with hope.
Black Lives Matter and black lives are at stake. We are committed to help bring lasting change and working with you to create a more just and equitable world.
Our COVID response
As we navigate these unprecedented times, Springmatter is working to support our community, schools, and frontline workers. Our mission of equity and inclusion has never been more important as we strive to meet the basic needs of those who are struggling.
We are providing funding, food, and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and proudly support these organizations who are working hard to help those in need — please join us in supporting them:
- United Way COVID-19 Community Response Fund
- Ann Arbor YMCA
- Swoops Food Pantry (Eastern Michigan University)
- Eastern Michigan University SEMIS Coalition
- Neutral Zone
- Corner Health Center
- Detroit Downtown Boxing Club Youth Program – STEM Program
- Stand with Trans
- Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health
- A2IDEAS Special Education Advocacy
We are also part of the maker movement, providing the medical community and other frontline workers with much needed supplies:
- Using our 3D printing capability to build face shields and other equipment for frontline workers.
- Donating face masks, gowns, gloves, and other Personal Protective Equipment to our local hospitals.
Find out how you can become part of the Maker Works team.