Nothing is changed until it is faced

800 300 John Guenther

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing is changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
To our Black colleagues, partners and communities we serve: 

Your voices matter.

Your experiences matter. 

Your lives matter. 
California Forward, the California Stewardship Network, California Economic Summit leaders and the many other members of our statewide movement are committed now more than ever to lead with grace and equity as we continue to work on policies that help more Californians of color afford a home, access economic opportunity and mobility, and live healthy and safe lives. 

The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dominique Clayton, and countless others make this work even more urgent, especially within California’s Black communities. 

For far too long, our society has rationalized, normalized, and accepted institutionalized racism that has led to entrenched inequities and injustices experienced by our Black communities and other communities of color. 

Willful blindness is not an option. Silence is not an option. Each of us has a duty not only to stand up to racism, but to actively and fervently work to dismantle it.
The events we have seen unfold over the past few weeks are decades in the making. They are chronic symptoms of the inequities reflected in policies that maintain the status quo and create barriers that deny opportunities for some – but not for others. 

A status quo that, even today amid civil unrest and a global pandemic, stubbornly continues as state and local governments look to rebuild by leaning into default policies that will put us back where we started. 

We cannot return to a past that failed so many. We must be deliberate about changing the power and economic imbalances in society. 

We also need to build power in communities through inclusive regional planning that sets the stage for the necessary conversations that must take place if we are to address disparities. 
Only when we resolve to create systemic change centered in equity for all, will we render equitable outcomes for all.  
Now is a time to amplify disenfranchised voices, listen, and take action. We stand with the Black community and all marginalized populations in building a California where all can truly and equitably prosper.  


John Guenther

All stories by: John Guenther