» Blog » Life Should Not be Determined by a Person’s Race [the Death of George Floyd]

Life Should Not be Determined by a Person’s Race [the Death of George Floyd]

June 3, 2020


We at the Center for Community Progress are enraged and grief-stricken at the loss of yet another Black life at the hands of police.  

Since 1619, the compounding symptoms of a problematic culture have systematically disenfranchised people of color in America. The unjust, preventable murder of George Floyd was one of a series of recent expressions of the fundamental problem our residents and country have long faced. 

The presumption that Black and Brown lives are less valuable has been so tightly interwoven into our nation’s fabric that its threads, that perpetually restrain and choke those same lives, can be invisible to many. Events like George Floyd’s murder expose these threads of institutional and structural racism. Now exposed, we must prioritize the deep reforms needed to repair our nation’s fabric and the social contract that exists between country and citizen. 

This week, the demonstrations we experience are evidence of the truth that even centuries later, we have missed the mark – we do not live in a country where all people are created equal.  

As the challenges of these important moments mount, the Center for Community Progress would like to express its support for Black and Brown women and men who brave each day with the fear of an imminent last breath. We will continue to advance and grow our work to fight injustice and foster the equity that is both needed and deserved.   

From fighting for policy reform to sharing information that will improve the land, structures, and systems that make up the built environments, we commit to addressing the glaring issues of structural racism in the places we live, do business, and call home.  

For those who look to join or further commit to this work, we encourage you to 

  • Educate yourself on the issues of racial equity. The team at Race Forward has produced a video series “What is Systematic Racism?” that provides a starting point for understanding these issues. In addition, we encourage you to follow the work of PolicyLink for practical resources.  
  • Support your local racial equity advocates. To find a list of organizations who fight injustice locally, visit 
  • Share how we can help. While Community Progress focuses on the built environment, it is powered by a diverse team and Board who are committed to seeing Black and Brown communities thrive. Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] if we can help your work on the ground or in championing structural change. 

We believe that a person’s quality and length of life should not be determined by their race. Yet, Black and Brown individuals systematically and disproportionately bear the brunt of land use and public policy decisions that limit their access to healthy, safe, and affordable neighborhoods. 

We know the road ahead is long and encourage you to take every opportunity – whether  from home, in the streets, or at the ballot box – to advance change. Our world not only can, but must be better. To every racial equity fighter out there, we support you and thank you for doing your part. We believe that there is growth ahead. We will continue to work to see that growth realized in the lives of our neighbors, children, families, and communities.  


Dr. Akilah Watkins-Butler is President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress, America’s non-profit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.” Follow Dr. Butler at @DrAkilahWB on Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn how you can help combat vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties at

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