The Council of Social Agencies of Hampshire County (COSA) stands against racism and white supremacy and the entrenched systems that support them. We abhor our country’s caste system. We denounce racial profiling and violence against our Black, Brown, and Indigenous friends, colleagues, and neighbors. We support everybody who unites to fight such injustice, and we stand firmly in solidarity with Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.
We owe a great debt to the Black Lives Matter Movement and all those who have carried the torch of truth and racial justice for far too long by themselves. They are the reason we now finally find our country in a large-scale reckoning with the realities of racism; an awareness with the potential to change the world.
We understand that the full potential of this watershed moment can only be realized through great commitment. White supremacy has ruled for centuries. Its injustice has been ignored, willfully silenced, and backed by ruthless state sanctioned violence. Reversing this travesty of history will require time, resources, and strength—a braveness of heart led by love, not hate, and grounded in truth, not abusive justifications and subjugation. It requires that all of us, especially those of us who hold white privilege and power, to assume responsibility and take action.
Social services agencies, including the COSA network, have been complicit in systemic racism, despite the fact that we champion against its consequences. That is why we commit ourselves to racial justice with eyes open and a dedication to staying aware while becoming more accountable.
Specifically, we pledge to the following in our quest to become an anti-racist organization:
Bear witness: To our Black, Brown, and Indigenous colleagues and partners, we promise to see your humanity and not flinch from your lived experiences.
Address our own bias: We will commit the time and resources to raise our awareness about racism and how it manifests in ourselves, our organizations, and our community.
Foster community awareness and action: We will commit time and resources to helping our partner social agencies in their quest to become anti-racist organizations.
Build a network and leadership that is inclusive and representative: Ensure that COSA is an organization where Black, Brown and Indigenous people who are employees, partners, and clients feel safe, included, and valued, and are lifted in leadership in the spirit of equity.
Anti-racist work is challenging and necessary. Engaging in an on-going commitment towards racial justice is nothing less than fulfilling the promise and debt we inherently hold to one another. Community and country are better for it – and so are we all.