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We see you. We hear you. We support you.

June 5, 2020   |   Brian Malte

For communities of color, it’s been an extraordinarily turbulent and stressful number of months where pre-existing and underlying conditions are now being exacerbated by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and incomprehensible incidences of police brutality. State-sanctioned violence, racism, and inequities are not new but are finally being pushed to the forefront and national spotlight these past few days, with thousands upon thousands of thoughtful and peaceful protesters across the country.

Every June organizations, communities, corporations, and funders paint their worlds orange in support of Gun Violence Awareness Month. This year it takes on another level of urgency with the extreme turmoil, hurt, and heartache in the country. Gun violence wreaks havoc on communities of color and especially African Americans. Gun violence tears apart communities and state-sanctioned, armed violence has also been perpetrated against communities of color for generations.

Let’s be clear; gun violence is not inevitable, it is preventable. We know that the underlying root causes of gun violence are numerous and include racism, income inequality, and easy access to guns. This is where Hope and Heal Fund comes in.

With Gun Violence Awareness Month upon us, we invite you to join us as we #wearorange and continue our work and the fight against everyday gun violence in all forms be it community violence, domestic violence, or suicide. We will continue to focus on the root causes that drive gun violence, and trust the local leaders who know what’s needed to make their communities safer, more equitable, and just.

Our intention at Hope and Heal Fund is to lead by example and put racial equity at the center of all that we do and where we fund. Racial equity is not new to Hope and Heal Fund. We did not adapt our racial equity framework in reaction to COVID or during the protests over the weekend. From the very beginning of our work, we’ve known and followed strategies guided by known facts – those closest to the problem of gun violence, are also those closest to the solution; and we are committed to funding, supporting, and amplifying community-driven, public health solutions.

As we enter into Gun Violence Awareness Month and continue to elevate and amplify gun violence prevention efforts, let us remember the progress we have made and the tremendous work we still have ahead of us.

We ask you to join us as we send love to all those demonstrating in the streets, making their voices heard and demanding equity and justice; and to those who have lost loved ones, those who are healing, and those who have been impacted by gun violence. Hope and Heal Fund sees you, hears you, and supports you. We will continue to address gun violence in our most impacted, marginalized, and vulnerable communities. Stay strong. Stay well. Hope. Heal.

Brian Malte is the Executive Director of the Hope and Heal Fund, the only state-based donor collaborative that pursues a public health, community-based, racial equity-driven approach to gun violence prevention.