A Statement from the EFCC Executive Committee
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered—publicly and calmly and by a sworn officer of the law. As a result, protests and civil unrest erupted worldwide, calling attention to the injustices and racism Black Americans experience and demanding change.
The East Falls Community Council (EFCC) exists as an all-volunteer, community-based group to represent the interests of all East Falls residents and work to improve our neighborhood. Drawing upon the symbolism of the Falls Bridge, our Mission Statement is centered around the idea that the Council is a bridge: a bridge between community members; a bridge between the community and the city; and a bridge between our community’s past, present, and future.
On June 3, 2020, the EFCC Executive Committee came together (virtually) to discuss how we should collectively respond—what are the words that would be appropriate to us as a body and what are the actions that would be appropriate to us as a community. We agreed that our message needed to be simple, concise, and honestly reflect our true feelings; and our actions needed to be feasible and intentional.
Honestly, nothing is simple or concise about the disease of racism that has existed in our nation for four centuries. There is no elegant and heartfelt response that fits such inelegant and heartless actions. We cannot BE the bridge, until we BUILD the bridge.
We recognize that the history of our neighborhood includes acts of prejudice and hate. We recognize that our community conversations have sometimes been divisive and hurtful. We acknowledge that we are broken, and in so doing, we commit ourselves to doing the uncomfortable and inconvenient work of fixing that brokenness.
As Philadelphians, we are all familiar with these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” It was not then, nor is it 244 years later, a statement of who we are as a nation; it is a promise of who we strive to be as a people.
On behalf of the East Falls Community Council, to our residents and neighbors, we will be a bridge to our city, our elected officials, and our neighboring communities. We accomplish that by building bridges within our community—bridges of trust, respect, and kindness. Our Mission Statement ends with the following: “Together, we must challenge each other to identify what needs to change, and what needs to remain the same. As we work together, we will: listen as much as we talk; treat each other with respect and dignity; and strive to be welcoming to and inclusive of all.” The end of our mission statement is where we begin as a community to have the conversations necessary to living into our shared promise that all people are created equal with unalienable rights…life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
Our hope is that this letter will open the door to the conversation, inviting our neighbors in to listen, learn and explore, to truly live into our mission statement and begin to build the bridge that brings our community together. Details coming soon about community conversations.