A Statement from Our New York Office
Alembic Community Development joins with our fellow community development organizations to express our grief and anger at the murder of George Floyd and the continuing violence — police and state-sanctioned — against men and women of color in America.
Racism and bigotry are embedded in the core of the legislative and financial infrastructure of this country’s housing system. Our cities’ blighted neighborhoods are neither accidental nor self-inflicted: in housing, as in every other facet of our nation’s economy, white people have made fortunes off the backs of poor families, particularly poor families of color. The wealth of the Trumps and the Kushners is just today’s most prominent example.
Alembic works in these neighborhoods, in communities that have suffered historically from disinvestment and racism. We are as afflicted as others with the ills of racism — some acknowledged, some which we overlook or cannot see. Like other developers, we have reaped the benefits of a system that grants greater power and a greater share of the economic interest to holders of capital, thus perpetuating an imbalance and injustice that reaches back through decades of discrimination and Jim Crow to slavery.
We are committed to working to dismantle institutional racism within the community development system, within the communities where we work and within our country.
Sixty-five years ago, the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization dedicated to peace and social justice, issued a pamphlet entitled Speak Truth to Power. The title is an old Quaker admonition that is often heard these days. The introduction to Speak Truth to Power contains words that have a particular resonance today:
“Our truth is an ancient one: that love endures and overcomes; that hatred destroys; that what is obtained by love is retained; but what is obtained by hatred proves a burden.”
Black Lives Matter.
A Statement from Our New Orleans Office
We are angered, outraged and heartbroken over the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We are deeply saddened by the continued racial violence perpetrated by the police against unarmed African-Americans.
As real estate developers, we know that structural racism is entirely pervasive in our communities and that we are working within one of the most racist systems in our society. We see that the majority of our colleagues working at financial institutions are white, while the majority of construction workers on our properties and tenants living in our affordable housing are black and brown. This is not by accident.
We know that the funding programs we access use coded language like minority, disadvantaged, under-privileged, target areas, and others to describe the communities of color in which we work.
And we know that these facts are the product of institutionalized racism purposefully woven into our society over hundreds of years, specifically designed to help whites build wealth over generations while people of color have been systematically excluded from these opportunities. We acknowledge that as a white-owned company, we have had access to capital that others have been denied, and that we have benefited from networks and other resources that have facilitated our work that others have not been afforded. We recognize that the neighborhoods in which we work are the legacies of slavery, segregation and redlining authorized by racist public policies at the federal, state and local levels.
We approach development by intentionally building partnerships with nonprofit organizations based on the equitable sharing of project ownership, economics and decision making. We know it’s not enough. Over the past few years, our New Orleans staff has engaged in more explicit anti-racist work which has been instrumental in helping us better understand ourselves, our roles in systemic racism, and how we can work towards being an anti-racist developer.
Understanding that we have more work to do and that addressing institutionalized racism in the community development sector will be a long-term process, we remain committed to doing the work to truly bring about change. Black Lives Matter. Black Communities Matter. Black Legacies Matter.