Our mission at A Better Chicago is to build a more equitable city for our young people and future generations. We believe that the systemic racism and inequities that exist in our city and our country can be dismantled when we all come together to challenge the status quo and refuse to turn a blind eye to injustices. The events of these past weeks serve to remind us that we still have so far to go and immeasurable work to do. It is not lost on us that, as we tread uncharted waters in the midst of a global pandemic, we are also fighting age-old battles for civil rights and social justice. If we can come together as a city to support our Black communities ravaged by COVID-19, we can surely join forces to end the anti-Black racism that has permeated our country’s history for generations. The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others call for a change that has been too long in coming.
As an organization, we know that there is much for us to learn as we make strides to ensure that everything we do has racial equity at its core. We will continue to learn from our partners in the Black community and uplift Black voices as we move forward in our efforts to reform and reimagine the systems that keep Black youth from thriving. We are working every day to be better allies and advocates—to identify and challenge racial biases, to walk hand-in-hand with our grantees as they navigate existing systems, and to educate ourselves on what an anti-racist organization truly looks like.
We deeply believe that Chicago is a city of resilience and generosity. Ours is a city with a complex history of racism, civil rights activism and social justice. Now is not the time for silence or hesitation. Now is the time for courage and decisive action. We must have the uncomfortable conversations, we must choose to stand for equality, we must dismantle the institutions that keep too many of our Black communities locked in cycles of poverty and hopelessness. Our work is just beginning, and centuries of racism will not be undone easily or quickly. Our team mourns for every Black life impacted by injustice and abuse of power—and we recommit to our mission to help build a city, and a country, where Black lives are valued and Black children can thrive.