The Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio condemns acts of violence and discrimination against our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors who are Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC) in our communities and in our country. The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and too many others have left us and our community mourning and outraged. As an organization who serves a diverse population, we understand hunger, violence, and racism do not exist in insolation. We stand with our community during this difficult time to call out structural racism and injustice and to work together in order to advance equity, not just in food, but in all things.
Our mission is to grow hope by creating pathways to nutritious food. Growing hope means demonstrating love and acceptance for all families at all times. Hope is, of course, not the end goal. In order for hope to lead to change we must be committed to going beyond tolerance or acceptance—we must understand the forces creating crisis and need because hunger is a racial equity issue.
The rates of food insecurity for Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color is 2-3 times that of white, non-Hispanic individuals. Food deserts, areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, are more predominate in BIPOC neighborhoods making finding healthy food, or food at all, challenging and expensive.
Each of us have a shared responsibility to our fellow citizens – to listen, to understand, and, ultimately, to take action. In 2018, Children’s Health Watch released a series of articles addressing the differences in food insecurity in relation to racial and ethnic discrimination in healthcare, school, work and the justice system. They identified real and actionable ways to affect change – to go beyond words – in education, employment, housing, healthcare and the justice system.
Second Harvest pledges to advocate for the creation of policies, practices, and spaces promoting the wellness and safety of BIPOC communities. We pledge to increase our own efforts to cultivate diversity and inclusion to ensure our vision for a brighter future and a just society for all will be achieved.