After the darkness, today is a brighter day

January 21, 2021

After the events of January 6th, I was both saddened and angry. The images of the insurrection at our U.S. Capitol speak for themselves. We saw the treatment by law enforcement of Black Lives Matter protestors last year who demonstrated peacefully after the death of George Floyd and other unarmed Black persons. We saw the treatment by law enforcement of a predominately white mob invading the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. And we call out the disparate treatment for what it was—deeply embedded racism.

And now, just two weeks later, I see reason for hope.

Amanda Gorman is the 22-year-old Black poet who read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s inauguration. She amended her poem after seeing the storming of the Capitol.

This section of her poem stood out to me:

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated”

Her words remind me that we can tackle big problems. That we are more powerful together. That the health of our democracy requires a shared understanding of truth. That our democracy is fragile but can be saved by our critically informed, ongoing and active participation.

Homeward NYC stands in solidarity against the structural racism deeply rooted in our government, housing, criminal justice, education, health care, employment and other institutions. We hold ourselves accountable to be actively antiracist and work towards dismantling systemic racism. We know that structural racism affects all our personal and collective experiences. It affects how resources are allocated for society’s most vulnerable. It affects how justice is applied to marginalized communities and those who advocate on their behalf.

We serve some of NYC’s most vulnerable people—homeless young adults and seniors. They are persons of color, LGBTQ folks, mothers, and persons with disabilities. Homeward NYC’s social work is driven by our commitment to social justice.

Young people like Amanda Gorman aren’t just our future. They are our now. The compassion, creativity and activism of young people give me hope that our nation can live up to our ideals. After the darkness, today is a brighter day.

Jeannette K. Ruffins
CEO of Homeward NYC
January 21, 2021