The events of the last week have shaken our community and our country. It has equally shaken those of us at Community Investment Corporation (CIC). Our nonprofit work focuses on increasing access to economic opportunity for those historically and traditionally underserved by financial institutions, markets, and tools. We believe that if everyone was afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all that our country and economy has to offer, our community and our society would be better and more prosperous for everyone. Embedded in this core belief is the right that every person has to equal treatment by, and access to, our system of justice. We did not want a reminder as concrete and devastating as the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis of our failures to ensure these rights. And we lessen ourselves if we ignore it or the inequities that led us to this moment in history. We need to do more than believe in something to make it true.
For all the gains that have been made since the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s, the reality is that we are not all equal under the law or in our economy. There are enough studies, reports, statistical analyses, and evidence to fill dozens of libraries, let alone the individual stories we hear every day if we choose to listen, proving these facts. The systemic and institutional barriers that communities of color face – and which are the result of implicit and explicit as well as conscious and unconscious racism, prejudice, and bias – are more than simply daunting or unfair; they are dangerous.
We stand with Tucson and the greater national community by peacefully demanding and working for equality, liberty, and justice for all. We support the Black community and all communities of color in this fight. We do so to honor the memory of those who have been killed – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dion Johnson and tragically so many others (#saytheirnames) – and we do so in the name of all people in our community and country who live in a world that can treat them as if their rights, and they themselves, are less than others. We believe that Black Lives Matter.
CIC is establishing a zero percent interest revolving microloan loan fund for new entrepreneurs of color who are in their first 5 years of owning a business. We will also be making $1,500 donations to both Southern Arizona Legal Aid and Step Up to Justice, two local organizations fighting for equal access to justice in our community. We understand that these commitments are small relative to the change that is needed, but they are our attempt to move from passive support to action.
Racism has no place in our country or in our society. Regardless of how we may see different nuance in a complex social issue, this cannot distract us from what we all know. Racial equality is a moral imperative. We must speak with a single voice against racism in all of its forms. The lives of our brothers and sisters, of our neighbors, and of our countrymen and women depend on it… as does our humanity.