October 20, 2014

To:        Dallas Faces Race Partners and Subscribers

From:    Lauren Embrey and the Embrey Family Foundation
Cecilia and Garrett Boone and The Boone Family Foundation

As Dallas’ major racial equity initiative, Dallas Faces Race is confronted with a real life and immediate situation in the aftermath of Ebola patients being diagnosed in our city.
We are disturbed by reports about the racial bias that immigrant communities and communities of color have been experiencing as a result of Ebola panic.

People in the Vickery Meadows neighborhood are experiencing bias related to job security, service providers and taunting at sporting events.  Others are being turned away from restaurants and being told that they brought this disease to the US.

We understand that people are afraid.  Targeting victims of Ebola and shunning whole communities is not going to keep us safe.

We know the people of Dallas are good people who care about each other.  While we may not intend to discriminate or divide, that is in fact the impact of individual and institutional decisions over the last few weeks.

We call on Dallas Faces Race Partners, our community and our public officials to do three important things in this moment.

First:  Call out discriminatory behavior whenever and wherever you hear it or see it. Let people know that things like refusing to serve people at local businesses on the basis of their looks or national identities is not legal, and not okay.

Second:  Show your support to the communities of Vickery Meadows and the nonprofits that serve them.  Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation is one example, learn more at www.vmydf.com.  And if you are interested in volunteering to support individual or group needs or neighborhood projects, please contact Ellen Mata at Northpark Presbyterian Church for more information:  emata@northparkpres.org or 214-363-5457 ext. 24.

Third:  Make your own statement to your contacts condemning xenophobic and racially biased actions in the aftermath of this crisis. Share success stories and lift up positive examples.

Our country and city have experienced such waves before. Xenophobia and targeting innocent people for punishment were problems when we first learned of AIDS, H1N1, and SARS. There were terrible consequences for communities at the heart of those crises.  It’s up to us to step forward, broaden awareness and make sure we don’t repeat history. Ebola will be solved, but the impact of divisive behavior will last much longer.