As July nears a close, my thoughts are with all the families affected by the mass shooting in Highland Park on July 4th, which took the lives of 6 people and injured over two dozen others. My heart continues to ache after video footage released that same weekend that confirmed Jayland Walker was unarmed at the time police officers shot him 60 times during what started as a routine traffic stop in Akron, Ohio.
Although the 4th of July should signify liberty and freedom, I cannot stop asking myself whose liberty and whose freedom we are celebrating. With trepidation, I also reflect on the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade last month. This decision attacking women’s rights, reproductive justice, racial justice, and equity will disproportionally impact women living in poverty and their families, communities we serve.
As I reflect on these events, I cannot deny the emotional and mental toll this has taken on our cgla family and me. We sat with our staff and interns this month to process the happenings in our world as a community. One participant accurately noted we were living in a ‘weird reality.’
I urge you, as I urged them, to give yourself the grace to feel the feels and focus even more on self-care, which is vital to renewing the energy to keep moving forward.
I also note that in these times, we must remain hopeful as well as steadfast in our mission, vision, and purpose. Now is the time to stand together and remove barriers to equity. Now is the time to spring into action and utilize our collective power to create a more equitable future that will bring true liberation for all.
Aisha Cornelius Edwards