We too are in mourning. There has been yet another senseless and tragic death. This time it was George Floyd. Now is a time for outrage, heartbreak, lament, and courageous action.
And it is a time to look squarely at the data and finally call out the prevalence of systemic racism and injustice. It is everywhere.
We must confront systemic racism and injustice by recognizing it wherever it exists and move swiftly to address it with open transparency.
Family homelessness is the homelessness that is often hidden. Children and families choose to blend in. It is not a coincidence that the largest referring agency for our affiliate, is USD 497. The teachers and staff often are the first to take notice.
In the FPL database of families served, those very families that want to blend in and not be noticed, there are clear indicators of the systemic racism and injustice in our community that must be addressed – in our hearts, in our places of employment, in all levels of government, in our healthcare, in our faith communities – everywhere. We cannot allow ourselves to be blind to it. This painful evaluation is long overdue.
Let’s talk simple data. The racial demographics of the families served at FPL over the past 2 years in contrast to the U.S. Census data in Douglas County, KS clearly indicates the inequities in our own community.
For example, while 4.7% of the population in Douglas County is Black, 42% of families we served were Black. While 83.4% of the population in Douglas County is White, 30% of families we served were White.
(see 2010 U.S Census Bureau for details: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/douglascountykansas/PST045219)
The data tells us we have a great deal of work ahead. Outrage, protest, heartbreak, lament, and listening, repentance, and action – calling it out everywhere we see it. We must build up systems of equity at every level.
Black Lives Matter.