SWING PHI SWING SOCIAL FELLOWSHIP INC. ®
With the onset of COVID-19, the entire world was put on pause for several weeks. We heeded government guidelines to “stay safe” and adopted a philosophy that “we’re all in this together.” Yet as a people of color, we know all too well, that this country has applied separate guidelines of systematic racism, misogyny, and police brutality that often leaves us feeling less than safe, valued, or respected. Not even a global pandemic could reduce the reality that being black in America means to constantly be on guard and to be overly concerned for the lives of our loved ones.
On May 25th, we all heard those dreadful words again, “I can’t breathe,” as George Floyd gasped for air at the foot of a law enforcement officer. Another black life extinguished due to excessive force for a negligible crime. After almost nine minutes of forced restraint the world saw that the real crime was to be black in America. Unfortunately, fear and police brutality are so deeply rooted in this nation’s history that we watched the same story play out in the days to come.
Almost 155 years ago, this very day marked the end of the war and brought final proclamation that all slaves were freed. Since then the African American community has celebrated this day as our Freedom Day, sacred and filled with thanksgiving for the resiliency of a people. While this nation still has significant work to do to reverse the centuries of enslavement and criminalization of the black race. We must not be broken by the effects of racism.
As we celebrate this Juneteenth, let us come together in solidarity to build upon the legacy of our heritage. Let us honor our ancestors and focus on long-term solutions for our community. Today, I encourage each and every sister to find the strength to make an impact:
Make a conscious effort to support and promote black businesses,
Teach our children Black history,
Register and encourage other people of color to vote,
Learn and become an active participant in government, and
Stay engaged on political issues that will advance our community.
The world was rudely awakened, reminded and or educated on the unique struggle of being African American. George’s voice sparked outrage and compassion one and the same. Businesses and other races actively acknowledged their privilege and that #BlackLivesMatter in all sectors - commerce, finance, technology, entertainment, and every space in between. Let today June 19, 2020, be the day that we demand comprehensive reform while making long-term improvements in our community. Let the remembrance of those gone too soon inspire us to greater humanity in our Sisterhood and our community.
We, The Sisters of Swing Phi Swing SFI® mourn for the friends and family of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and all the beautiful Black lives lose to police brutality. It is our pledge to, not only bear witness, but also to act on this public health crisis. We will continue to speak truth to power, to fight oppression, and to demand justice against a system that continues to devalue the lives of Black families or disaffirm our humanity. We understand the sense of outrage in our communities and around the world to be a natural human reaction to the ongoing subjection of human beings to systemic oppression. To our sisters and brothers on the front lines: we see you. To our allies in the struggle: we stand with you.
Power to the People.
Lori S. Gittens, MBA
10th National President
Swing Phi Swing SFI®