Black lives matter. In 2020, this should go without saying. Certainly without saying it over and over and over again. But this has become all too common in America: another Black man brutally murdered by police, another rallying cry for justice. We must refuse to accept this status quo. We must demand change, and we must fight until we get it.
LIVEKINDLY was founded on the principles of equality, of being stewards for each other, our planet, and those who share it with us. It’s woven into the fabric of our culture. And it’s an ethos that rings truer every day.
These protests happening across the country deserve our respect and support. While some have turned violent and distract from the message, most are peacefully calling for justice. The time has come to make a decision about whether or not we will stand on the right side of history. LIVEKINDLY stands with George Floyd, the countless lives lost before his, and those now risking their own lives by taking to the streets to make sure it never happens again.
Most days, our news desk is bombarded with harrowing realities for Black people and other communities of color—whether that’s underserved communities struggling against a food system that’s failing them, or a disproportionate number of immigrants and former prisoners forced to work in factory farms or slaughterhouses, now the epicenter of thousands of COVID-19 outbreaks. Even outside of meat processing plants and slaughterhouses, COVID has disproportionately hit these communities—Black people make up a staggering 25 percent of COVID deaths in the U.S., despite making up less than 14 percent of the total U.S. population.
We see the statistics daily: the increased rates of diet-related illnesses among communities of color, the efforts made by big food brands to target these communities and keep them hooked on fast food and sugar. In predominantly Black parts of rural North Carolina, for example, even clean air is a privilege reserved for white people as concentrated hog farm pollution smothers nearby Black communities, leading to high rates of cancer and other illnesses. Food deserts are rampant in Black neighborhoods, even in world class cities like Los Angeles. Bird watching in Central Park even comes with risks if you’re a Black man.
But these countless examples of Black people being targeted and oppressed feel like the easy part of the problem. We can fix a broken food system. We can change the narrative around diet and health. We can work to empower children, and help them to make choices that favor education, art, and health instead of the drugs and violence many opt into by default. But how do we stop a police officer, who takes an oath to protect and serve his community, from suffocating an unarmed Black man to death? Or shooting him in the back, or right in the chest as his girlfriend sits next to him, her 4-year-old daughter in the back seat? This takes radical change. It takes all of us.
We don’t often make political statements at LIVEKINDLY that are outside of our news coverage on diet and climate, but this is not something we can simply witness and opt out of. We have a platform designed to spread kindness. And witnessing oppression while standing in silence is the antithesis of our core values.
We’re inspired by the successes and victories happening in the Black community every day, and these are stories we love telling. We routinely cover stories of those fighting against the odds to reverse disease, open businesses, bring healthy food and education to underserved communities, and help elevate Black voices in art, music, and culture.
We’re also listening to what you’re saying, and what others are saying, about how we create lasting change, about how we avoid more unnecessary deaths, and help move into a future we can all be proud of. We don’t have the answers, but you have our word, we will be part of the solution.
And we also encourage you to get involved in any way that feels right for you. There are organizations that need resources and funds now more than ever. It’s an easy place to start, especially while quarantine recommendations are still in effect for most of the country. We’ve listed a few below.
The LIVEKINDLY Team
Jodi, Andrew, Alicia, Jill, Jemise, Luke, Saranne, Laura, Kat, Robin, Tim, Charlotte, Jackie, Liam, Audrey, and Mona