A Letter to Our Community On Systemic Racism
How Are You Doing? This is an important question that we often gloss over as a casual greeting.
But recently I’ve been reminded in several ways that it’s an essential thing to give real attention to. Not to withdraw or shut things out, but to continue to resource ourselves as we engage with the world and form plans of action. We most often pose the question to others, but it has value when we ask and answer it for ourselves (without judgement, when we can)..."How are you doing?"
In answering this question for myself, there have been two things that are the most organizing, grounding reference points I have in my toolbox. One is art. Another is a review of the various resources that have helped the ongoing journey of examining my relationship (and by extension Render’s) to the system of white supremacy and the harm it inflicts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they frequently overlap.
Acknowledging that the answer to “how are you doing?” is highly nuanced and personal for each of us, there seems to be little disagreement that the past few weeks and months have been particularly agonizing; for reasons that have been called unprecedented, and also, reasons that are horrific and entrenched. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless other members of the Black community have been killed police brutality and systemic racism in law enforcement. We know that these tragedies are not unprecedented, or isolated. Systemic racism and oppression are directed towards many people of color and marginalized communities; in the US, the Black community specifically has experienced the violence of slavery and anti-Black sentiment which has perpetuated more violence and defined all of our systems since their inception.
We must change this. Black Lives Matter.
The truth is that experiences of health & wellness have always been impacted by social context, systems of power, and marginalization. Systemic racism and white supremacy have a long history of not only defining and exercising control over access to health and wellness, but of actively and intentionally eroding them, especially, but not exclusively, for the Black community and people of color.
It is necessary to acknowledge that Render is not isolated from this reality, regardless of our efforts to stay informed and dismantle these power systems to creatively increase access to health and wellness.
It is also true that art helps fortify our sense of wholeness, and is a powerful tool for reclaiming and redefining our individual and collective health, in a complete understanding of the word.
As the founder of Render and a White woman of privilege, I consider it our responsibility to create and hold space in a way that maintains all of these truths simultaneously, and actively work to change the tides that uphold white supremacy and oppression which diminish health in mind, body, and spirit.
Being a product of this system, there is no doubt we err in this process, which will never be finished. We assume the responsibility to catch our own missteps, apologize and make them right, and create a plan to move forward in a healthier way. We know we will make mistakes in this area too, and that impact operates independently from our intentions. Questions, concerns, or feedback are welcomed with thanks for the inherent generosity of bringing them forward.
In the months and weeks ahead, and for as long as Render exists, we will continue to ask ourselves how we are doing with regularity so we can stay involved in this work, which requires listening, learning, and taking action.
We always want to know how you're doing, and center your health, creativity, and wellness in everything we do.
Thank you for being a part of this community.