In our work, some of the issues that we deal with are subtle, technically complex, or otherwise difficult to identify. Racism is not.
As strategists and planners, we know all too well that there are communities who seek economic vibrancy while ignoring the issue of racism — its systemic nature, the devastating legacy it leaves, and the trauma that persists.
In light of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, we at Fourth Economy express our condolences to grieving families and community members, our unequivocal support to those who are protesting against racism and police violence with their voices and bodies, and our commitment to building a more just world. Collectively:
We take a firm stand against all forms of violence, discrimination, and racism towards Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), especially anti-Black racism.
We value Black lives. We stand against the criminalization and dehumanization of BIPOC people.
We denounce police brutality and support the first amendment rights of those who are demonstrating in our communities to demand change.
As a firm, our purpose is to ensure that the economy serves the people. That means an economy that is just, and provides opportunities that are accessible to everyone. In 2020, that vision is far from reality. Systemic racism over generations has created an unfathomable level of wealth disparity between Black and white people, as well as many associated but distinct disadvantages.
As members of our community, we hope you will join us in learning and acting upon what this moment has reminded us:
The voices of marginalized communities need to be heard. We must create new systems to amplify their voices, then listen closely and respond swiftly with collective action.
It will take a systems approach and organizational response to dismantle practices that institutionalize racism to create economic advantages for white people and restrict BIPOC from those same advantages.
In addition to powerful stories of lived experience, we must use data to tell the stories of racism and how it continues to create disparity.
The actions we take define us, our communities, and country. In the days ahead we will follow the lead of organizations such as the Center for Economic Inclusion, based in Minneapolis who published a Call to Action that should be embraced by all communities.
We are committed to supporting the battle against racism and have made donations to the following organizations that are national in reach or active in three communities where we are actively engaged:
The National Bail Fund splits donations between 60+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers.
YWCA York is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
The Du Nord Riot Recovery fund supports Black companies affected by the riots in Minneapolis.
The Poise Foundation is dedicated to assisting the Pittsburgh Region’s Black Community in achieving self-sustaining practices, through strategic leadership, collective giving, grantmaking, and advocacy.