Executive Director Msg: Moving Beyond Solidarity

Solidarity Is More Than Words. It’s Action.

It is extremely exhausting to watch and experience the continuous police brutality, racial profiling, and just pure hatred against Black folks. I must admit I am cynical about the pledges of solidarity and calls for justice when what is necessary at this moment is transforming personal bias, prejudice, blatant racism, terror, and systems that have existed for centuries.

Can you recall a time when anti-blackness and terror against Black people wasn’t a thing? I cannot. I wasn’t yet born when a young Emmitt Till in 1955 at 14 years of age was brutally beaten and killed by racists. However, I can vividly remember when I was in high school and witnessed on video along with the world the brutal beating of Rodney King by police. I can recall the horror five years ago when within seconds a 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by police while playing with a toy gun.

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, and countless others could be my brothers, nephews, uncles, and cousins. When you see Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, you see me, Black women who just want to live our lives in peace.

What you may not see is the righteous rage, anxiety, and toxic stress we endure because of the microaggressions in our workplaces, the blatant prejudice we experience in our daily lives, and the silence from those who do not seek to change themselves, their families, their workplaces and their communities because living in privilege is comfortable and self-reflection is painful.

As the mother of an 8-year old Black boy, I am arming him with the knowledge that he will need to carry for a lifetime living in his Black body. I am also protective of his Black Boy Joy because he deserves to experience a childhood of love, peace, and fun.

In my role as executive director at Building Blocks for Kids (BBK), I am hopeful and confident about our vision. We envision empowered communities that are wellness-centered and have equitable access to high-quality education, where healthy families blossom to realize their dreams and full potential.

I am also aware that it will take change from every facet of society for BBK’s vision to be realized, which is not the sole responsibility of Black folks and people of color.

Let’s move beyond hashtags, Instagram posts, and public statements and get to work eradicating prejudice and racism within our households, communities, and systems.

Systems change is necessary right now! What does that look like? It’s ensuring that nonprofit and corporate staff and boards are truly inclusive and go beyond tokenism. It’s criminal justice reform that dismantles systematic oppression. It’s economic justice that allows everyone the opportunity to become financially stable and secure. It’s transforming our education and health systems so that they are centered in healing and the gaps are closed.

In Community,

Sheryl Lane
Executive Director