Black Lives Matter. That should go without saying, but it needs to be said.
The most recent murders in the United States are heartbreaking and reinforce how much work is still left to be done to break the hold of systemic racism. As I, personally, seek ways to engage more actively with this ongoing crisis, I am heartened to know that Rain for the Sahel and Sahara’s supporters value black lives everywhere.
In the U.S., we have collectively benefited for centuries from an unequal and unjust relationship with African countries and black lives. We have an obligation to help right those wrongs. RAIN’s founding premise recognizes that marginalized communities suffer as they face systemic barriers built up over generations. The only way to face those challenges is to do so together.
At RAIN, we do not purport to have the answers to other people’s problems – we listen, we learn, and we collaborate with communities that best understand their own needs . RAIN’s program staff is 100% Nigerien, from the field staff to the Directors of Finance and Programs. Our US staff and Board are deeply grateful to our colleagues in Niger for their insight, expertise, warmth, and willingness to work with us to address the needs and futures of their communities. We are always learning from them.
We also recognize that we, like all of us, can and must, do more. RAIN’s new strategic plan recognizes the need to increase diversity in our US Board of Directors and Advisory Board and the importance of applying our values to internal organizational functions. In addition to these organizational commitments, I commit personally to continue to read, watch, ask, listen, and learn. I hope you’ll join me.
We thank you for standing with RAIN. We thank you for standing up for black lives. We ask you to join us in being vocal in your support of black lives as well as marginalized peoples everywhere.
Some ways to do that include:
- Asking your congresspeople to support Reps. Presley, Omar, Bass & Lee’s resolution condemning police brutality, racial profiling, and the use of excessive force (find your representatives here).
- Consume, reflect on, and share media that engages with the topic of racism, such as White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo or How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi.
- Donate to organizations engaging directly in important work such as Campaign Zero and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. A wonderful local organization for those on the NH Seacoast is our neighbor, the Black Heritage Trail of NH.
We do this to honor George Floyd and all the black lives lost to systemic injustice.
We stand with you as we learn and we stand with you in the fight – locally, nationally, and globally.
P.S. We welcome your questions, recommendations, and resources as we strive, continuously, to do better and to be better.