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By Mike Nellis, CEO

I’m struggling to make sense of the tragic events that took place in Minneapolis, Georgia, Louisville and here at home in Austin. These events and the resulting protests have laid bare the results of 400 years of systemic racism and inequality.

As the community foundation for Austin and the Central Texas region, we have a responsibility to speak up and support our Black and Latino communities. We must use our position and voice to condemn racism and support justice.

What can we do as a community foundation?  If we hope to close the opportunity gap in our region, we must acknowledge the historical realities that delivered us to this moment. Only then can we begin to work together to build a better future. I have hope after talking with community members over the last few days. There is much work to be done and our organization will continue our commitment towards an equitable community.

At the foundation, we are not without flaws in this work, and we need to work even harder to dismantle the historic inequities in our community. If we are to make change, we must listen to one another, learn from each other, and support one another, especially in a time of crisis. That’s why we are currently working with members of the Black and Latino communities to assess our role and look internally at changes we need to implement as an organization so that we can make a greater and lasting impact. We’ll continue to commission research that exposes the disparities in the region, convene important conversations and fund solutions to address these issues. If you want to take action today, support Black and Latino led organizations working towards justice in our region.

We are stronger together and we must work together to hold ourselves accountable in making our community better for everyone, especially our Black and Latino neighbors. We are committed to listening, learning, and acting in solidarity so that there can be justice for all.