June 11, 2020 by Loraine Stuart and Terence Mulligan
We’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to breathe in America of late.
Or more pointedly, who gets to breathe, and breathe freely, in America.
COVID-19 has taken more than 110,000 lives in the United States, and the last stop for many who became gravely ill was a ventilator in a hospital’s ICU ward.
As the awful toll of the virus has come more clearly into view, we’ve learned that people of color have gotten sick and died at starkly disproportionate rates because of the racial, social and economic inequities that persist in our communities.
Then came the killing of George Floyd.
At Napa Valley Community Foundation, we stand in solidarity with those who are raising their voices in this moment.
We share your grief, your sadness and your anger – but also your resolve that something be done, this time, at long last, about the elephant in the room of American civic life: the racism that runs unimpeded through so many of our systems and institutions.
We support peaceful protest and applaud every person and organization that wants to bridge divides, heal wounds and create more equitable communities.
We recognize our responsibility, as the leaders of an institution that has both money and power, to use our voice and our resources in service to the crisis at-hand, and to the urgent project of building a better America for all.
To our nonprofit partners, who year-round seek to protect the most vulnerable residents in Napa Valley, we say: stay strong in the work, and let us know how we can help.
To our donors, whose financial support affords us a platform to speak that we wouldn’t otherwise have, we say: keep giving to local charities, and consider giving to the 501 c (3) nonprofit organizations listed on our website, napavalleycf.org, that work to advance racial justice in the Bay Area and beyond.
As we move to safely open up our economy and get back to work, all of us want to put the fear, illness, uncertainty, economic injury and death of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.
Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where we can look back on systemic racism, too, as something we once abided or ignored, that through a powerful coming together, we ended.
In the America that we envision, all of us can fully breathe.
Loraine Stuart, Board Chairperson
Terence Mulligan, President and CEO
Napa Valley Community Foundation