Mary Steele, our Interim Executive Director, sent this letter to our staff regarding the killing of George Floyd. We wanted to share it with you, our greater Compass community, as this is such an important issue that touches all of us.
After the latest police killing of an African American man in Minneapolis, Compass Housing Alliance joins those calling for systemic reform in the use of deadly force by law enforcement agencies. George Floyd died while handcuffed and surrounded by four police officers. One officer kneeled on his neck for at least seven minutes despite protests from many of those watching that his life was in jeopardy. During the incident, Floyd repeated over and over that he could not breathe, a reminder of a similar police killing of Eric Garner in New York in 2014.
As one of the largest providers of services to vulnerable and unhoused people in Seattle, we at Compass Housing see the effects of systematic racism every day. Many of those we serve are people of color. Racism is a community-wide crisis, whether in societal practices that have contributed to the disproportionate COVID-19 deaths of African Americans or the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police. All of us must work toward systemic change to rectify the pervasive problems of racial, economic, and social injustice that continue to plague our society.
As we move into our 100th year of service, we do so with renewed dedication to creating a just and equitable society and an organization that values all with love and humility.