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A Message of Solidarity: #BlackLivesMatter

Dear friends,

The powerful protests that have risen up against racial injustice over the past two weeks have been deeply moving and a source of real hope for me. It is imperative to put an end to the brutality of systems that have been designed to maintain white privilege at the expense of people of color as quickly as possible. This seems like a moment where together we can make real change. The liberation of communities of color will liberate us all.

At Tilth Alliance, we view our work through an equity lens. From supporting food access programs in Seattle to working with the agricultural community statewide, we strive to engage our communities in conversations about the food and environmental justice movement. We are also committed to doing this work internally. We are re-examining our own systems to ensure they are aligned with our core values of justice and equity. We are working together as a staff and Board to build a deeper understanding of the ways we are complicit with systems of racism, and how we can build and sustain an anti-racist culture. To support this learning, staff at Tilth Alliance have been allotted paid time specifically to spend on equity work. This time is used to participate on our Equity Committee and attend weekly “lunch and learn” meetings focused on equity and racism. It has been used by many staff to participate in Food Solution New England’s 21-day Racial Equity Challenge. A couple of us recently used it to complete the workshop on Habits and Practices of White Women Gatekeepers. Staff has also compiled a library of resources on race and racism that is available as an organization-wide resource.

And in immediate response to what I see as a historic opportunity to realize real change, Tilth Alliance staff have been given paid leave on Friday, June 12, to participate in the day of activism being organized statewide by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. Staff are also encouraged to learn and reflect independently. I have appended a list of the resources they will be looking at so that you can also take advantage of them.

No matter how much we do this week, or this month, or this year, it will not be enough. Racism is deeply ingrained and will take sustained effort, focus, learning, self-awareness and courage to overcome. While our work to dismantle racism is motivated by a sense of urgency, we know we must simultaneously persist in this work in a measured and thoughtful way over the long term. And we will.

Tilth Alliance’s work takes us from the most densely populated neighborhoods in Seattle to the wide-open wheat fields of Eastern Washington. I have no doubt there will be members of our community that take issue with this statement. I would like to invite you to please call me, to engage in the conversation, to check out the resources below. This movement is so very important, and you are invited in with an open heart.

Be well everyone. Let’s work together and be the people and the nation we have long aspired to be.

Melissa Spear
Executive Director
Tilth Alliance
(206) 633-0451 ext. 104

Resources Guiding Our Learning:

Tilth Alliance, Closed June 12
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