The times we are living through call for transformational change. Community organizations led by and for people of color have been leading the way – during this time of crisis and long before – to meet the immediate needs of community members, while also organizing for long-term solutions to end violence and inequity and build a safe, just world.
Between 2020 and 2021, the RICADV received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support primary prevention strategies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from this funding, we partnered with four community-based organizations led by and for people of color – ARISE, Progreso Latino, SISTA FIRE and Youth In Action – with the goal of amplifying their voices and experiences through the Voices of Change video storytelling project.
Those who have been most severely impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting economic crisis are also those most impacted by violence and systemic oppression, including Black, Latino and Southeast Asian people and other communities of color, women, people who are LGBTQ, people with disabilities, young people, immigrants and people who are undocumented.
Our communities hold the knowledge and power to build a Rhode Island free from violence, poverty, racism and oppression. As a state, we must listen to the people most impacted by violence and inequity and take action on the priorities they have defined. We must invest in the health and wellbeing of our communities. This includes funding small and medium-sized organizations led by people of color who have been on the front lines of the pandemic providing direct aid to neighbors in need, while working to end economic violence and address injustices in education and health care.
When we focus on creating community connectedness, changing community conditions and holding our systems and institutions accountable, we can create safe, supportive environments where violence is less likely to happen.