We Stand in Solidarity: Black Lives Matter

Food Justice is Racial Justice

A statement to our community

 

We at the Sauvie Island Center stand in support of Black Lives Matter. We are saddened and outraged by the senseless murders of Black Americans that have taken place in this country for far too long.

More than three-quarters of the students that we serve are Children of Color. We commit to continuing to learn and grow in our capacity as a just and anti-racist organization, in order to best serve our students and our broader community. We understand that we can never achieve food justice without also achieving racial justice. We found that Helen Dombalis, Executive Director of the National Farm to School Network, expressed this sentiment profoundly, and credit her for much of the following content. 

Our current food system is a legacy of exploitation and racism – land stolen from Native people, a US agricultural empire built on the backs of enslaved Africans, today’s farmworkers being predominantly underpaid immigrant and migrant Latinx workers, and many of the school food professionals that feed our kids being Women of Color who earn less than a living wage. Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color and Immigrants are the backbone of our food system and ensure we can eat. They’re also a constant target of racist acts and violence. 

We recognize that institutional racism and structural racism are at play in our communities, destroying the fabric of human good, and we must dismantle this. Children of Color participating in school meal programs have been publicly shamed when they lack the funds to pay for their meals. Black and Latinx youth have substantially higher rates of obesity than their white peers, as do Native youth. Our national policies do not equitably commit resources to feeding our children, our future. People of Color are disproportionately represented on the frontlines of COVID-19 response and in our food system as essential workers, and are dying at higher rates due to the prevalence of underlying health conditions – a direct result of systemic inequities in access to healthy food options, health care and safe working conditions. And in the case of police brutality and murder, People of Color are killed by police at higher per capita rates than White people. Structural racism allows these sobering statistics to become normalized, accepted and perpetuated.

As a white-founded and white-run organization we know that we sit in a position of privilege, and that we have a responsibility not only to be allies, but active participants in the fight for food and racial justice. The lives of all Black people who have lost their lives to violence and racism matter. We at the Sauvie Island Center stand in support of those demanding police reform and justice, and are committed to continuing to work internally to center our policies and practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We are committed to taking leadership from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) voices, and invite you to do the same. Speak up, act boldly and demand justice. Here are some ways to get started:

Please also check out and support some of the incredible community organizations working locally for change right now:

Racism will not stop, nor will our children and our future be more peaceful and something we’re proud of, unless we take action. #BlackLivesMatter. #DemandJustice.