In Solidarity

June 12, 2020

This week George Floyd was laid to rest. The public outpourings of grief, anger, and pain have swept through our nation in response to his death, coupled with the stark reality that Black and Latinx Chicagoans are dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates, have brought into sharp focus the long-standing racial inequities in our city and nation.  

Today, RRF Foundation for Aging adds its voice to the overdue consensus across our nation that racial injustice must end. If we have learned anything in the practice of philanthropy, it is the value of seizing the moment. There are times when change can happen more swiftly than one might imagine, because the time is right. This is one such moment.

RRF Foundation for Aging is anchored by its organizational values, among which is inclusion. We believe that truly inclusive communities are strengthened by diversity. Looking ahead, we will commit to further promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion—both within our organization and outside of it. As a first step, we will create opportunities to listen ever more closely to the grantees, advocates, and community leaders with whom we work and from whom we can continue to learn. 

These bold groups and committed individuals are working to create greater racial justice and health equity for older people of color. Some grantees, for example, are increasing access to affordable housing and providing culturally appropriate services to caregivers in communities of color. Others are helping to alleviate social isolation among older adults, many of whom are African American and have spent their lifetimes resisting the effects of systemic racism in all its forms. Still others are fostering solidarity between Black and Brown communities on the Southwest Side of Chicago. They inspire us and they will continue to guide us as we move ahead.

We stand with our grantees and partners doing this difficult and necessary work; and we stand with all of you in our collective efforts to seek concrete solutions that move us forward and bind us together.

In solidarity,

Ruth Ann Watkins, Chair, Board of Trustees                     
Mary O’Donnell, President

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