The article below was written and published by Greenwich Time.
GREENWICH — A Greenwich-based coalition of police leaders, human service providers and faith-based organizations — among many others — is speaking out against racism and says it’s committed to “holding one another accountable” as society works toward true equality.
The Greenwich Together coalition met in late June to discuss current events, including issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis man who died at the hands of police in late May.
During that late meeting, Greenwich Together members drafted a public statement against racism, and members sent it out shortly after through their social media channels and to media outlets.
Greenwich Together statement
Greenwich Together is a community-based coalition comprised of educational, human service, law enforcement, civic, health, and faith-based organizations. Our work mobilizes youth, parents and community partners to: 1) prevent substance misuse 2) promote behavioral and mental health, and 3) strengthen healthy choices through positive youth, family, and community development.
We stand ready to do the work to end injustice and systemic racism in our country and community. We are committed to challenging ourselves to understand and correct any inequities we may discover as we collaborate to improve the health of our entire community and gain a better understanding of ourselves and each other. We are committed to speaking up and acting together to end the violence and mistreatment of all ethnic and religious minorities so that all people, particularly our youth, have healthy futures.
It is imperative that we continue to work together, now more than ever, to promote racial equality and justice. We are committed to holding one another accountable as we work towards true equity in criminal justice, education, health and access to substance use and mental health treatment.
“We are committed to speaking up and acting together to end the violence and mistreatment of all ethnic and religious minorities so that all people, particularly our youth, have healthy futures,” part of the statement said.
“It is imperative that we continue to work together, now more than ever, to promote racial equality and justice. We are committed to holding one another accountable as we work towards true equity in criminal justice, education, health and access to substance use and mental health treatment,” the statement said.
Ellen Brezovsky, assistant director of prevention and outreach for Greenwich-based Kids in Crisis who also serves as a prevention coordinator on the coalition, said Greenwich Together focuses on preventing substance use and promotes behavioral health.
“Because racism affects both those issues as well as any others in the community, we want people to know that we are willing to look at that issue, to recognize it, to know that it affects people’s health and mental health and that we want to do our part to bring an end to that,” she said.
Kids in Crisis provides emergency shelter, crisis counseling, and community education programs for children of all ages and families facing crisis.
Alan Barry, commissioner of human services in Greenwich and a co-chair of Greenwich Together, echoed Brezovsky’s sentiment.
“Greenwich Together wants to join with other individuals, groups and organizations throughout the community in pledging our continued commitment to creating and nurturing an environment free from inequity and racism and supporting diversity, tolerance and inclusion,” he said.
Greenwich Together, with its 31 member organizations, has a particular focus on eradicating substance use among youth while also promoting mental health within these age groups. While writing the statement against racism, Brezovsky said the group wanted to be “the guiding light” for youth as well, during this “difficult” time period.
“I think it’s a very hard time in the United States right now,” she said.
“A mirror has been held up to us as a nation and we really have to look at some difficult issues in our history as a country,” Brezovsky said. “I’m sad that we had to write it (the statement). But at the same time, I think that it’s important that a light has been shown on it and we’re willing to do the work and not shy away from it. I think it’s an important time in history. I think it can be a turning point, and hopefully, it will be.”
To read the full Greenwich Together statement, and to view the list of organization supporting it, visit www.greenwichtogether.org/we-re-against-racism.