Commitment to Racial Equity
To Our Neighbors:
First and foremost, we believe that Black Lives Matter. We stand
with all those protesting racial injustice. We acknowledge the
need for police and judicial reform.
On June 5, 1981 the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group was incorporated with a board of neighborhood residents looking to stabilize and rebuild a community that had seen more than a decade of disinvestment and dramatic population loss. Today as we look back at our long history, we also acknowledge the role that systemic racism has played in that history and continues to play in our present.
We acknowledge that in 1808, the land on which our neighborhood was built was forcefully taken from the Osage and other members of the Illini Confederacy.
We call out and acknowledge the practice of redlining which still dramatically and disproportionately affects the ability of our Black neighbors to build generational wealth or obtain affordable access to credit.
We call out the presence of environmental racism and contamination that has led to increased rates of lead poisoning and asthma disproportionately affecting our Black neighbors.
We highlight that our zip codes of 63106 and 63107 have the lowest life expectancy rates and highest occurrence of health disparities in the entire region for our Black neighbors.
We acknowledge racism and white supremacy values have long been entrenched in community development work and government policies.
We acknowledge that as an organization we have often been complicit in practices that further uphold white supremacy, harming our Black neighbors; that our leadership has not always reflected our community; and that our Black neighbors have not always felt welcome despite our shared vision of building a welcoming and diverse community. It is past time we centered that impact over our intentions.
In this moment and always, it is our duty to self-examine our actions as an organization and stand against all harmful actions that we see in operation in our community. We denounce white supremacy, white privilege, and the resulting racism. We acknowledge that as an organization we have often been complicit in practices that further uphold white supremacy. That must end.
In these acknowledgments, we commit to the following:
We commit to listening to, centering and uplifting the voices and experiences of our Black neighbors in all aspects of our work
We commit to examining and redeveloping all organizational policies and practices with a strict focus on using a racial equity framework and building an explicitly anti-racist organization
We commit to using resources like the Anti-Racist Organizing Collective, Forward Through Ferguson and Crossroads among others to provide continuing education for our community around our roles in dismantling racism and white supremacy
We commit to further supporting outlets for healthy, affordable food
We commit to continue our work with the St. Louis Equal Housing and Reinvestment Alliance and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition to advocate for fair lending practices and policies in communities of color and low-income communities
We commit to following best practices in equity-centered community development and engagement
We commit to continue providing affordable homeownership options
We commit to strengthening our partnership with Northside Neighbors United, Equitable St. Louis, and other organizations fighting for more equitable development practices in our region
We commit to continually being open to hearing feedback, learning from our mistakes, and taking appropriate and swift corrective action
This is a living and breathing statement of commitments. We will adjust as we listen and learn from our neighbors, and as we practice holding each other accountable with care.
The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group Board of Directors
Jessica Payne, President
Pastor David L. Battle, Vice-President
James Anderson, Treasurer
Aimee Dunlap, Secretary
Dr. Annessa Blackmun
Rev. Dr. Paulette Sankofa