ECHO statement on demonstrations and racial equity

Dear Austin,

We are hurting.

As a community, as a city, as a country, we find ourselves once again confronting the ugly truth of racism. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Mike Ramos, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and countless others, many at the hands of police officers sworn to protect us all, are heartbreaking, but they are, sadly, not surprising. We are encouraged by the charges filed against the officers in Minneapolis, but this does little to address the roots of racism in America and right here in Austin. It also does little for the victims named above whose families have not received the justice they deserve. ECHO stands firmly with demonstrators and our black community in calling for an end to police brutality and the culture of white supremacy and against the violent assaults on protesters by the Austin Police Department.

Now and always, Black Lives Matter.

We see the sinister effects of racism every day, in the generational poverty that disproportionately affects our black neighbors, in the barriers constructed specifically to deny equity in housing and healthcare, in a justice system that criminalizes being black, and in our homelessness response system that fails to address systemic injustice. Inequity begets inequity, and as a result, black Austinites are significantly over-represented in our homeless population, accounting for more than 1 in 3 people experiencing homelessness but less than 1 in 10 people in our region’s population. This is unacceptable. ECHO acknowledges that there is a lot of hard work ahead to examine, understand, and reverse our role in perpetuating racist policies and practices.

Everyone deserves the same opportunity to access the prosperity that our city, our state, and our nation have consistently bestowed upon white people. Those of us who have privilege have a duty to fight for justice alongside those who don’t. Together, we must build an equitable, just society, based on dignity and respect for all people. Enough is enough.

In Solidarity,

ECHO Staff

Here are some black-led groups fighting for equity in Austin:

Here are lists of local black-owned businesses and restaurants to support. If you have questions about your elected city officials’ support for policies to decrease police violence and programs that serve the cause of equity in Austin, contact information is listed here. You can learn more about how to be a better ally with these resources.

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