We'll start by listening

Dear friends and family,

This was a rough week for us at the Center for Civic Innovation. Over the past few days, we have had a number of internal conversations about recent acts of injustice happening in our world. These events invoke a lot of personal thought, anger, confusion, and reflection. Like the rest of the world, our team has a diversity of opinions, perspectives, personal stories, and frustrations.

The Center for Civic Innovation is designed as a home for honest dialogue and constructive action to push our city forward, and we’ve spent hours asking ourselves what we as an organization can and should do in response to recent events.

Honestly, we don't have a perfect next step. On one hand, we do not want to have the same conversation over and over again. At the same time, we know dialogue on race and social justice is at the top of many people's minds right now and that there is a lack of common knowledge of how policies play out in our communities. These are challenges that cannot be solved overnight but also cannot be pushed to tomorrow.

With that said, here's what we’ve been doing. We’ve spent and will continue to spend time over the coming weeks talking to people and organizations in Atlanta focused on advancing dialogue and action on race and criminal justice. We want to recognize and understand what initiatives already exist in our city, where there are opportunities for collective action, and where, if anywhere, we can be supportive in tackling these challenges. Maybe that’s around policy reform, or capacity building, or maybe not at all.

If you are an organization or individual with a program related to racial equality or criminal justice, please get in touch with us. In addition, we are also going to meet with researchers and subject matter experts to collect data and information that we can provide as a resource to our community. We will also spend time talking to elected officials in our city to understand where there are opportunities for policy change. We know that we do not know everyone doing this work, so please pass this along to any organizations that we may be able to support or help.

We have the privilege of being surrounded by incredible people and organizations spending their time working on challenges related to race, criminal justice, and social reform every single day. They inspire us and fuel our work. We are not the only, and for some people not always the best, place to have conversations on deep, emotional and community challenges, but we are also not willing to sit silently. Black lives matter, and we want to leverage everything we have to help support others who are fighting for a safer, fairer, and smarter Atlanta.


All the best,

Bem, Dayle, Erin, Kyle, Melonie, Nate, Rachel, Raina, and Rohit