Powerful leadership creates pathways for our collective freedom. We are witnessing Black leaders – including Black women, Black youth, and Black Queer and Trans folx – demand deep systemic transformation. We are witnessing Black leaders spark a global protest movement in the middle of a pandemic. We are witnessing modern-day freedom fighters leading coordinated uprisings. Rockwood is committed to affirming, uplifting, and supporting Black leadership, grief, and wisdom because Black leaders matter. Period.
Black grassroots leaders are not only demanding justice for the violent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, but also those of Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and all of the Black Trans and Queer people disproportionately facing state-sanctioned violence. We must say their names and recognize their murders are not isolated incidents. We must account for all of the Black lives that have been brutalized by white supremacist structures and institutions for over 400 years. History is not repeating itself – the historical amnesia of America is reckoning with itself.
Because of structural racism, Black people are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, yet Black protesters are bravely risking their lives to demand a world free from state-sanctioned violence. Black leaders are leading from a place of righteous rage, divine indignation, and profound courage, both in the streets and at their altars, kitchens, cars, backyards, and screens.
In this historic uprising, we are asking ourselves: What is Rockwood’s role right now? How can we commit to it with humility and purpose?
To the white and non-Black leaders in our beloved community, we invite you to ask yourselves those same questions, and to find more ways to redistribute resources and take heed from Black leaders on the frontlines.
To the Black leaders in our beloved community, we want to support you in your full power and brilliance by offering you tuition-free programming, including a Black-only community call to provide space for you to feel, be, and call in freedom together. If you’re interested in learning more about these opportunities, please sign up here to receive more information, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now let’s live into the truth that is often said by the co-founders of Black Lives Matter: “When Black people get free, we all get free.”
In power and solidarity,
All of us at Rockwood Leadership Institute