The events of the past several weeks nationally and locally require us to speak out and reflect upon ourselves as an organization and community. Sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, ongoing protests have been organized across the country and even internationally, including numerous marches on Broadway.
We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and those protesting systemic racism, injustice, violence at the hands of police.
SoHo and Lower Manhattan have been a place for New Yorkers to gather, rally and organize for social change for generations, from serving as a cradle of the labor movement to Jane Jacobs’ fight against the Lower Manhattan Expressway to Housing Works’ continuing work toward ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness. In keeping with this history, Lower Manhattan continues to be a focal point for people from around the city to gather in support of Black Lives Matter.
SoHo Broadway is a place where people from around the city, and around the world, come together. The Initiative supports the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) members of our community who live in, work in, and visit SoHo Broadway. We are committed to reflect upon and address how white privilege and systemic racism manifest themselves in our organization and neighborhood, to promote social equity, and to amplify BIPOC voices.
We wanted to share recent thoughts from some of our district businesses and organizations:
“Dismantling and rebuilding these systems and practices—and the very structures of American society—is not the work of a month or a year; it is work that must engage all of us, immediately, continuously, for a lifetime.”
“Let’s all be part of the change. #UntilWeAllWin”
“Housing Works denounces the state-sanctioned murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and countless other Black people who have met their deaths at the hands of police. We stand in solidarity with protestors on the streets here in New York City, in Minneapolis, across the country and around the world as they seek to demonstrate for change in the face of a systematic effort by police to attack, provoke and injure them”
“We stand with our black colleagues, customers, and community. We recognize their pain, grief, and struggle as we join them to fight racism and injustice. Equality is essential.”
“We need to be unafraid of dealing directly with racism and hatred, and using our resources to amplify marginalized voices. Scholastic can and will continue to use its platform to make the case for the fundamental right of every child to education, and the uncomfortable argument that we must put far more resources into struggling schools, even at the expense of diverting resources from the most favored. We can no longer settle for slight gains around the edges. This is what society expects of us, and what we must expect of each other.”
“Black lives must matter. The reality is that systemic racism has been pervasive for centuries—woven into the fabric of our nation. We condemn it. It has no place in our company. We have zero tolerance for it . . . Transformation and progress will rely on meaningful, sustainable action—from every colleague in every building with the Bloomingdale’s name on it.”
We are working to better educate ourselves throughout our organization about myriad issues related to systemic racism in American cities that have been reiterated these past weeks. I found these threads on Twitter particularly helpful in relation to our work in the physical realm of cities and economic development. See here, here, and here.
Not only must we learn, these lessons must lead to change through our actions; the Initiative is dedicated to addressing systemic racism in our work going forward. The staff and board members of the Initiative are asking ourselves how we can make a meaningful impact, but want to hear from the community. If you have ideas, suggestions or other perspectives, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you will commit to working with us to create a more equitable SoHo Broadway.
Below are links to nonprofits benefiting the Black Lives Matter movement, please consider donating or volunteering: