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What's spreading faster than coronavirus in the U.S.? Racism.

Abby Axelrod-Wunderman, Director of Charitable Giving

We are 12+ weeks into community quarantines and shelter-in-place regulations- and the the world is demanding justice for the tragic murder of George Floyd.

Racism is not a new illness in our country. Over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us all that we need to come together and heal the racial equity wounds throughout our communities. 

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood." – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

Fast forward to 2020, the misinformation about the novel coronavirus led to xenophobic attacks against anyone in the US who looked East Asian. Today, we are witness to another racist attack.

Why should you have a conversation around race?

Racism thrives in silence. Whether or not your family has had its first conversation on race or racial justice before this latest tragedy, there is no time like the present to discuss the visible human inequities that surround our nation and local community. 

When we refuse to talk about race at any age, but especially early on, our silence can be seen as accepting how racial injustices are today. Perhaps, growing up, you were told discrimination would disappear if you saw all people as the same and did not concern yourself with the color of someone's skin. Thinking (and believing) that if we are all nice, racism will go away. Sadly, this is a fallacy. Instead, we should take it upon ourselves to help our children, family, and community understand racism – and empower others to work toward racial equality.

Where to start? 

Start by acknowledging racial differences. Understand for yourself that as a society, we see skin color and racial identities. With children, you can share how racial diversity exists. When speaking with older family members or community members, you could bring up more emotionally loaded topics – like racial discrimination, racial privilege, and social inequities. There are many topics to cover when it comes to discussing race. The key is to start the conversation. 

Contact the Philanthropy Team at the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties to learn more about how to get involved in this issue area.