Expanding opportunities in America’s cities
Commentary

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I want to share a brief reflection about the horrific acts of violence that have shocked our nation over the past few weeks. The indescribably tragic events in Orlando, St. Paul, Baton Rouge and Dallas have angered, saddened and otherwise moved each and every one of us at The Kresge Foundation. These events have stirred emotions, for us and in the communities where we work, that cannot always be named or processed. I’ve asked our staff to commit to one another to reflect deeply on the meaning of these events, to search out one another to discuss them, and to identify ways that each of us – individually and collectively as an organization – can advance principles and behaviors of respect, tolerance, acceptance and racial justice in our work.

The fear, racism and divisiveness fueling these attacks directly counter and impede the work we do. Kresge is committed to creating pathways of opportunity in America’s cities. We can’t do so without dismantling the obstacles that lie along those paths. Insidious, systemic racial disparities pervade and poison not just law enforcement and the criminal justice system, but all aspects of life in urban America. Fear disables communities from forming the connective tissue needed to undergird a prosperous, united city in which all people can flourish and realize their potential. Divisiveness halts conversations and undermines all types of progress.

Our foundation's aspiration and commitment is to root out such obstacles and create a new way forward. Our work is predicated on a very different construct of possibility, one in which traditional values of the common good and mutual support form the backbone of a future in which social, economic and political equality lies within the reach of every American. This future will be rooted in something greater than ourselves – an uncompromisingly inclusive society in which diversity strengthens instead of divides. One in which cultural differences are celebrated instead of ridiculed. One where bridging differences banishes the notion of anyone as “other.”

We are deeply saddened by these recent events. We’re frustrated. But our hope persists. It lies in the work of our hundreds of partners across the country that share the same desire to see a more inclusive, opportunity-rich world emerge. We join those partners, now with more urgency than ever, in imagining what we must do to contribute to the kind of future we all so ardently want and in committing to continue taking the action necessary to see that vision become the reality in our nation’s cities.

Rip Rapson signature

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation