Black lives matter

Josh Brown
Josh Brown,
Executive Director

The root causes of the historic wave of protests we have seen across the world go beyond police violence. Our country and our region have a long history of anti-Black racism that continues to cause enormous harm.  Generations of discrimination, disinvestment, and inequitable opportunities have helped lay the groundwork for the circumstances we face today, in which systemic racism often places Black and white lives on completely different trajectories.

Although other groups experience systemic racism in this region, we focus on Black lives today because the moment requires it. Their house is on fire and we all must come together to put it out. By addressing the barriers faced by Black residents, we will also identify strategies to remove barriers for other marginalized groups, resulting in improved outcomes for all residents in our region.

We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis, and too many other Black lives.  These unnecessary deaths scream for the recognition that Black people have for far too long been subjected to sustained racism that shames the values we hold dear.

As a planning agency, PSRC makes decisions that shape transportation, land use, and the built environment. We have a responsibility to dismantle systems of inequity and reimagine a region where race can no longer predict life outcomes. We understand that the region’s vision for advancing prosperity, a healthy environment, housing choices, and great public spaces in vibrant urban centers is not equally available to everyone, especially Black residents who face ongoing discrimination in education, health services, employment and safe access to public spaces.

We also have a responsibility to consider how these inequities are woven into the fabric of our own agency and how we can remove them. We will continuously explore and implement specific new or evolving strategies to achieve the following goals and we will hold the region’s leadership accountable for supporting them:

  • PSRC staff will develop a deeper understanding of racial equity and its relevance to their work
  • PSRC staff will reflect the diversity of the region we serve
  • PSRC will ensure that Black residents and communities of color inform decision-making processes
  • PSRC will center race in its work and use its various roles to advance racial equity
  • PSRC will spend its resources to improve racial equity outcomes

While we have taken some steps in the right direction, we have a long journey ahead of us. Expect to hear more about this work in the coming weeks and months. We look forward to working together on making lasting, systemic changes in how we support Black communities and end racial injustice moving forward.

I welcome your feedback on our work at PSRC. You can reach me at jbrown@psrc.org.