It seems the worst outcome we could have imagined has become a reality: a stunning victory for racism, misogyny, homophobia, and vengeful authoritarianism. Like many of you, we watched the election results with a mixture of anger, grief, and anxiety about the future of racial justice and the safety of our communities. In the coming days, there will be much analysis and speculation about what led to this outcome. Let us enable the deep self-reflection and listening that must take place. Let us channel our anger and grief toward constructive and innovative strategizing. Yes, this is a crisis, and it is clear that business as usual cannot continue in the racial justice movement or anywhere else.
We at Race Forward will not go silent or cower in fear. This country belongs to all of us, and we can unify it under the principles of compassion and inclusion. Doing so may require more from us than we have had to give in two generations or more. It will not be easy, but there are victories to come.
Even in the midst of this backlash, we can celebrate the fact that around the country progressives have won important local elections and ballot initiatives, including paid sick leave, minimum wage increases, background checks for gun purchases, and marijuana legalization. Racist sheriff Joe Arpaio was denied a seventh term in Arizona, and a number of progressive candidates won their local elections, including the first African-born Muslim immigrant elected to Portland, Maine’s city council. And we can celebrate the fact that our communities are here to stay. We will look out for each other and face the challenges together.
This coming weekend, the Race Forward board and staff are grateful to be gathering more than 2,000 of our people at our Facing Race National Conference. It will be a space for healing, listening, working together, and strengthening our commitment to racial justice in the face of great obstacles. We thank our attendees in advance for doing all they can to be present with kindness, optimism, openness, and determination. And for those who are not in attendance at Facing Race, there are a number of ways to participate and engage, through the livestream of our keynote and plenary presentations, Colorlines coverage, and social media engagement online with #FacingRace. Our deepest gratitude to all of the people who have been working to make the world a better place. We are with you, always.