Black lives matter. This is a simple and self-evident statement of fact. PPNA will not stay silent any longer. We have seen protests around the country in the wake of the murders of black people at the hands of the police. We say their names to remember them even as we recognize that none of them asked to be made into symbols for a movement: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor. These are the latest names in a long history of violence born of White supremacy, anti-Blackness, and institutionalized racism within our country.
Patterson Park Neighborhood Association stands in solidarity alongside those throughout Baltimore, the United States, and the world, who are rising up to condemn racism in all its forms. We recognize that racism is not merely the actions of a few bad individuals but a system of oppression built into our society. The ongoing protests against racial injustice have prompted us to reflect on the ways in which our own organization, and our community, needs to do better. All of us, as individuals and as an organization, must actively work to dismantle that system to build a more equitable society.
The PPNA mission statement is “Nurturing diversity and empowering residents to work together towards a healthier future for our neighborhood.” We’re proud of the diversity that makes Patterson Park unique in an otherwise heavily segregated city, and acknowledge that much of our strength as a community lies in the voices of the people that live and work here. Yet, that diversity is not reflected in our leadership, membership, or activities. We regret that in the past, we have not done enough to prioritize diversity, inclusion, and anti-racist actions.
Making a change must go beyond issuing a statement. We must take sustained action over the course of the next months and years. We’re committed to putting systems in place that move PPNA forward and keep it moving forward as an anti-racist organization for years to come. At this time, we lift up the calls from Black movement leaders to defund the police, for access to fair education, and for equitable access to health care in time of global pandemic and always for communities of color impacted by systemic racism. Our organizational commitments to action include:
Educate white members and neighbors of PPNA on anti-racism and allyship through racial equity training and monthly learning opportunities.
Establish a pledge for all members of the PPNA that includes a commitment to anti-racism.
Advocate on behalf of anti-racist reforms and intersectional issues in our district, our city, our state, and our nation
Prioritize inclusion of speakers in monthly meetings that are doing work in anti-racism, police reform, justice reform, and all issues relevant to our diverse community.
Conduct quarterly equity audits to examine the ways in which we have failed to fully include and serve our neighbors of color and to hold ourselves accountable to our goals for progress in the work of anti-racism.
Listen to organizations and communities that serve BIPOC and support their work using the resources of PPNA leadership and membership.
We call upon our neighbors to hold us accountable to these pledges. We are committed to ensuring that this moment is only the beginning of our work, and call upon all of our neighbors to join us.
Dave Werkmeister, President
Taylor Binnix, Secretary
Marc Lennon, Interim Treasurer
Cheryl Bryant, Vice President of East Sector
Ernest Le, Vice President of Patterson Place Sector
Garrett Patrick, Vice President of North Sector
Danielle Roberts, Vice President of West Sector
Mairin Srygley, Vice President of South Sector