Desmond Tutu, one of the world’s most renowned human rights activist, once said that “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” With the tragic murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers two weeks ago, this leaves our nation asking ourselves, on which side will we stand?
This question has not escaped our small corner of North Carolina. For many members of our Greater Matthews Habitat family, the recent the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are not simply a result of a few horrific incidents during a difficult and tumultuous period for our country- deplorable moments like there are an established and commonplace part of life for communities of color.
I would like for our community partners, homeowners, volunteers, and staff to know that Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity stands in solidarity with the Black Community and Communities of Color. We share your sadness and outrage – and we stand on the side of justice for George Floyd and for all our countless neighbors who have been victims of historic, systemic, and institutional racism.
As an organization, Habitat for Humanity was founded on the principle of racial inclusivity, in 1970s southern Georgia, at a time when inclusivity was seen by many as a very real and serious threat. Today, as we continue our work to increase availability and access to affordable housing – we regularly lay witness to the devastating impact that systemic racism has and continues to have on our friends and neighbors.
We are committed to helping create equity and end injustice in all things we do, most notably in what we do best: partnering with people in the Greater Matthews community in creating paths to safe and healthy homeownership. We seek to bring people with different racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds together to build homes, communities and hope. We challenge our housing and banking partners in both the for-profit and non-profit sector to identify and eliminate systems currently in place that perpetuate discriminatory outcomes and we will advocate both our local and federal governments to ensure fair access to housing for all.
We will not choose the oppressor through neutrality. Instead, we stand in support of the black community and communities of color. We will not tolerate anything less than the full and equal right to exist without fear of racism, discrimination and violence and we pledge to do more to build a just community for us all to call home.
- Natisha Rivera - Patrick
President & CEO