A Message From Deya
Dear Friends and Allies:
I must admit, as I sit with the events of the last several months – from pandemic to protest – I am struggling to find the words to convey the cascade of emotions I feel. The steady increase of Coronavirus cases in my home state of Texas weighs heavily on my mind. Many family members and friends aren’t – and haven’t been – able to stay at home. They work in factories, packing and shipping products across the country as we sit at home purchasing them online, as childcare providers working reduced hours and trying to make ends meet, as hospital cleaning staff with limited personal protective equipment, and as solopreneur nurse aides caring for those in home health centers.
My family and friends are not unique, nor is this a new phenomenon. Inequitable economic opportunities, and lack of affordable, accessible housing opportunities in communities where families have long lived are not new; its normal. These are the jobs that many Black and brown folks find themselves in, essential employees that are overworked, underpaid, and housing insecure.
“You can’t win. The game is fixed. So when they say, “Why do you burn down the community? Why do you burn down your own neighborhood?” It’s not ours. We don’t own anything. We don’t own anything.” – Kimberly Latrice Jones
The truth is I am angry and frustrated. Calls for normalcy fall on my deaf ears. We cannot go back to a normal. There’s an urgency to demand justice and systemic change. These extraordinary times call for us to come together to reimagine a truly racially equitable, resilient Denver region.
In March, we quickly transitioned to ignite conversation and action in support of our communities as you’ll see from our newsletter. The inspirational work of Mile High Connects members, our partners, and our region’s leaders serves as a reminder that justice begins in community. From Montbello Organizing Committee’s COVID-19 Response Network’s mobilizing our region’s most precious resources to 9to5 Colorado’s eviction defense training to Denver Race and Social Justice Initiative’s push for increased testing in Black and brown communities– now is the time to act on big ideas, to heal with justice leading the way, and to redesign our region to center health, safety, and economic opportunity where all may thrive.
I hope that as you read about the work of our collaborative you find inspiration and the light to keep you on the road to justice that lies ahead of us.