The recent police brutality and murder of George Floyd has prompted me to remind our members that the work of Norwalk ACTS is centered around Collective Impact, the idea that groups from different sectors must come together to solve social problems if we are to achieve change. And to achieve the kind of change we seek, highlighting and removing racist structures and systems must be at the center of our work. While Norwalk ACTS initially coalesced around data that showed a disproportionate number of African American young men being suspended and expelled, we have not always kept a laser focus on dismantling systems that perpetuate that trend. As we acknowledge in our recent publication, Transforming How Communities Work, this includes evaluating our internal operations and systems and building our own capacity to make measurable progress towards being a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. We vow to do better. Norwalk ACTS is the community. And as a community, we must learn from one another and do the deep self-exploration necessary to dismantle the forces that continue to lead to the killing of men and women because they are black.
This commitment and urgency must be explicit in the work of each of our members. If you are part of a specific group or effort around racial justice, please let me know – [email protected] With the principle of Collective Impact in mind that no single entity alone can create the lasting change necessary, our Social Justice & Equity Task Force will be mapping efforts across the city to help create a stronger, more robust response. Together we will challenge the status quo, breakdown barriers, and rebuild systems.
Norwalk ACTS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Barahona