The news over the last several days about protests and civil unrest around the country and here in our own communities has overshadowed even the pandemic. The tragic deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville due to police violence; and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was pursued and killed by armed white residents while jogging in Georgia, have shocked us. But on reflection, they are only the latest of far too many similar acts of racial violence and only the most egregious examples of longstanding racial injustices in our nation.
The CEO of MAZON, a prominent anti-hunger organization, recently captured the essence of how racism intersects with our mission: “We also know that racism goes beyond individual acts of bigotry, hatred, and violence. It infects the beliefs, policies, and institutions that limit opportunity, allow discrimination, and perpetuate inequalities. As anti-hunger advocates, we acknowledge the reality that we cannot end hunger without confronting racism.”
Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is committed to serving without discrimination as we pursue our Bold Goal, but if we are truly on the path to end hunger, we must go further. We must commit to working for equity, for diversity, and for inclusion, and against inequities that sustain hunger. We are proud to join Feeding America in this work. And much like our pandemic crisis response, this will be a marathon, and one we must embark upon now.
Diversity is one of our stated core values and we will be deepening our efforts to more fully reflect this value. In the coming weeks, we will begin the intentional work to build equity, diversity, and inclusion into our food bank “DNA”. Our Board of Trustees stands in full support of this vital goal and I am confident that our staff team will handle it with excellence. On this note, we look forward to keeping our many partner agencies, generous donors, local residents and community stakeholders engaged in our progress. As always, we welcome your input and we thank you for your amazing support to bring food security to many more thousands of struggling families and individuals than we ever dreamed possible.
Joe Arthur, Executive Director