In the last week, we have all borne witness to the killing of two black men at the hands of police. The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are as distressing and unnecessary as were similar tragedies that have come before, in Chicago and across the U.S.
The American reality is that if you are black, you are more likely to be killed by the police than if you are white.
This pattern repeats itself when it comes to homelessness.
* Blacks are five times more likely to experience homelessness than whites.
* Black families are seven times more likely to live in a shelter than whites.
* Blacks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.
* Black youth are over five times more likely to be homeless than whites.
In short, to be black is to be at the head of the nail.
These statistics speak to a pattern oppressive practice that we must recognize, name, and take action against. Moreover, this reality is a reflection of the day to day struggles faced by the leaders with whom we work. The mission of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is to prevent and end homelessness, because housing is a human right in a just society. In all of these efforts, we recognize that addressing and combating institutional and structural racism is an essential element of realizing the CCH goal of a truly just society. As an organization that values the lives and humanity of all people, we will not and cannot stay on the sidelines.
CCH stands with Black Lives Matter and its peers in the struggle to end police violence towards blacks. Moreover, we are making a new, clear commitment to use a racial equity lens to focus our work – internally and externally – to achieve our goal of eradicating homelessness. In the coming weeks, we will improve our understanding of our implicit bias and the nature of structural racism, and put in place practical change that allows us to amplify our work to address racial equity.
– Doug Schenkelberg, Executive Director
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless