To Our Neighbors,
With BAPA’s unique history around racial integration and diversity, and as a community of first responders and helpers, we feel it’s important for you to hear from us about recent events. We are in a time when all of us must come together to bridge the gaps between us.
We first want to recognize the sadness and anguish many black families in our neighborhood feel right now. While many Americans are developing a new or deeper understanding of the harm racism has played in their communities, we know many here have felt it for decades, and continue to do so now. It’s important for us to recognize this and not lose sight of it. We love where we live because of its diversity. It takes all of us working together to keep these values sacred in our community.
Moreover, we live in a community full of first responders — some of whom are also people of color — who are already under tremendous stress due to COVID-19 response. We’ve asked them, once again, to provide safety and support to our community and city whether in law enforcement, fire prevention, or health care. As always, they have answered the call and we are grateful for their service.
The mental and physical stresses all of this puts on our community can be devastating. Some of these threats will fade over time as science and health care catch up. Others will take a sustained effort to build equality and equity.
As we all think about what we can do right now, we wanted to share with you some simple steps. First, we must remember that we have not yet come out from under a viral pandemic that threatens everyone. Please continue to follow social distancing and safety guidelines. But practice social engagement as well. Call or message friends and family who may be hurting or seeking connection right now.
It is also important not to spread rumors, or share unsourced information or misinformation. Doing so spreads fear among the vulnerable and makes the jobs of first responders more difficult.
Our local small businesses continue to experience hardship. Please consider keeping as much of your spending within our community. Beverly/Morgan Park’s neighborhood associations remain a way to be of service to your immediate neighborhood. Find information about local businesses and organizations at bapa.org.
Finally, as we walk around our neighborhood, our spirits have been lifted by the many signs, messages of support, and cheer neighbors like you have shared. Know that it makes a difference.
If you have other ways you’d like to volunteer with BAPA and be of help in this time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Mary Jo Viero
BAPA Executive Director