Solidarity Letter

We Stand in Solidarity

2 June 2020

Speak for the Trees, Boston, stands in solidarity with communities across the country who are demanding justice and an end to police brutality towards People of Color. The continued murder of unarmed Black people across the country, including that of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, must end. Moreover, those who perpetuate such actions must be held accountable and brought to justice.

It would be short-sighted, however, to see the deaths of our Black neighbors at the hands of police in isolation from a much larger history of American racism. The death of Mr. Floyd comes at a time when Black communities in America have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In our own backyard, Blacks make up 25% of Boston’s population yet account for 38% of the known COVID cases and 35% of COVID deaths.

The death of Mr. Floyd and the deaths from COVID-19 have a simple commonality, namely that the persistence of the racist power and policy structures rooted in American history continue to shape every branch of our societal tree, from healthcare to education, from prisons to tax codes, from transportation to tree canopy. Just like every tree seed carries centuries of its ancestry within it, so too does our society today carry the same inherently racist power structures and policies of our past. The connections between history, class, economics, police brutality, and this pandemic are not merely inter-related; they are one and the same.

At Speak for the Trees, speaking out against racism and oppression and for equity are a core value. What we can do now is listen and strive to be part of the solution. We will continue to work closely with communities of Color towards building a more equitable and just society. In the coming months our board of directors will continue to explore how our environmental justice mission can be more deeply informed by antiracist ideology. Our work has just begun.