“NOBODY IS FREE UNTIL EVERYBODY IS FREE”
These are the prophetic words of Mississippi organizer and mother-leader, Fannie Lou Hamer, nearly 50 years ago in calling out to other women and mothers, Black, White and Brown, to come together to fight for justice for our children.
As mothers of African-American sons and daughters, we know that moments like now are why mothers have been “fighting for our families” since time immemorial. The appalling and unnecessary deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are examples of the very institutional racism and broken systems that COFI exists to change . The pain of 400 years of African-American people being treated as if they were not fully human is horrifying to bear. We mourn with their families and others.
COFI parent leaders in POWER-PAC IL have fought for restorative justice practices to replace policing in schools so children can see themselves as worthy and part of the learning community, and not be criminalized by the very system that should be offering opportunity. Parents have fought against the “redlining” of early intervention services for 0-3 year olds in communities of color and for financial justice to eliminate the racial disparities in government-imposed fees and fines. Ultimately, COFI and POWER-PAC IL are fighting to ensure that our children can be children and never have to hear those words “I can’t breathe” again. Change is needed and it is needed now!
On behalf of our children and grandchildren, we stand for racial equity and with those who fight for justice.
Giselle Doyle, Deputy Director
Tracy Occomy, Deputy Director
Sarah Ogeto, Board Chair
Ellen Schumer, Executive Director