Originally published June 3, 2020

Dear Rising Sun Community,

COVID-19 has radically altered how we interact with death. It takes more to shock us than ever before, yet here we stand shocked to the core:

Ahmaud Arbery.
Breonna Taylor.
George Floyd.
Tony McDade.

Their killings have shaken us out of hundreds of years of complacency, sparking civil unrest rooted in our acknowledgement of an unjust system. Acknowledgement is paramount—to change, we must first come to grips with the fact that America is a country founded in racial injustice, our society built on othering.

We must understand that these four deaths are neither the first nor the last, but that they and every other death define us as a nation, to the world and to ourselves. We must understand that a few months spent in fear of death by viral contamination are nothing compared to a lifetime spent in fear of living while Black. Above all, we must not let grief and hopelessness further divide our neighborhoods, communities, and nation into ‘us’ and ‘them.’ People of color are not a separate segment of America to support from afar; they are part of our collective ‘we.’

Rising Sun stands in solidarity with those demanding an end to systemic racism and violence. We uphold the American civil right to engage in advocacy in pursuit of equity and justice for all because we believe in the integrity of our nation, in our capacity for change, resilience, and love. 

Our voice is small and one of many, but we cannot stand silent. Our mission is to empower individuals to achieve environmental and economic sustainability for themselves and their communities. The need for that empowerment does not arise in a vacuum. As individuals, we wonder what we would have done if faced with the choices of our forebears; would we have stood up for what was right, for ourselves and for others? Now it is our turn to discover what we stand for, to walk our talk despite the costs.

Wherever we have the chance to denounce racism, bigotry, and violence, Rising Sun vows to do so, and we invite you to join us. Let us challenge ourselves to do more better, to do our job so well that we eventually make Rising Sun superfluous. Today, we live in the pages of history books. Together, we will write pages for future generations to be proud of.

In solidarity and hope,

Rising Sun Center for Opportunity