Pikes Peak Women stands with those who are horrified by the brutal murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25, and those of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray Jr., Walter Scott, Oscar Grant III, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and too many more. As mothers, as sisters, as friends we thought we were doing the right things to support and advance equality. We were wrong!

Our efforts have been too little and our voices too weak. Too often our silence spoke louder than our efforts. As the great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

We can do better. We must do better. The community of Fannie Mae Duncan and “Everybody Welcome” must come together to lead the way through advocacy, collaboration, and peaceful protest.

We cannot claim to know the racism and discrimination experienced by our Black colleagues on a daily basis, but we can learn. It is no longer enough to ask “Am I racist?” but rather “HOW am I racist?” and, even more so, “How can I use my privilege to advocate through positive action, relationship-building and communication to the broader community that racism is NOT welcome here? Not here in the Pikes Peak region. Not here in the United States.”

The leadership of Pikes Peak Women is committed to becoming effective allies, leading the charge to examine our white privilege and systemic racism to finally deliver on the promise of equality at all levels for people of color.  Many of you have attended our programs on media bias, political advocacy, and running for office. You have learned from Pikes Peak Women and brought your unique perspectives and truths to our forums. Now is the time to declare your commitment by adding your voice and story to the chorus of those demanding justice and reform for equal treatment, access and respect for communities of color. Women are a powerful force in this community. Just 100 years ago women gave their hearts, their efforts, and their lives to deliver suffrage to women. We can move mountains when moved to action, and now it is more important than ever to commit to action!

In the coming months Pikes Peak Women will be collaborating with our community partners to draft programs that educate us so we can be stronger — and louder — allies in this fight for equality. The details have yet to be formulated and we do want to hear from you on suggested topics that you think would be helpful. Here are some sample topics: White Privilege — What Is It? What are police guidelines on use of force? How are schools educating our children on civil rights, discrimination, privilege? What is the penalty for CSPD officers who don’t wear their body cameras or turn them on? What is our history of civil rights in Colorado Springs? The list is likely to be long, but we would welcome your ideas. Feel free to share this memo with your friends and neighbors. We welcome all suggestions.

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We cannot remain silent. We must fight systemic racism and inequality, the historic absence of respect, and the denial of justice to our friends, neighbors, family members and fellow citizens who are people of color. We commit to learning to be true allies in this movement. We ask each woman of the Pikes Peak region to JOIN US.

Pikes Peak Women — Mary Lou Makepeace, Marcy Morrison, Karole Campbell, Lindy Conter, Susan Davies, Melissa Marts, Michelle Ray, Beth Roalstad, Carrie Simison, Barb Van Hoy, Deb Walker. Pikes Peak Women is an independent, community-focused group addressing local innovation and investment through the meaningful contribution of women at all levels of business, government and community. Learn more at pikespeakwomen.com.

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