Board of Directors, Wilma Dykeman Legacy –
Wilma Dykeman was, among other things, an educator.
She knew that the learning process is lifelong. Those among us who are white have a lot to learn about racial inequity in the United States, and about the disasters it wreaks on all of us.
It is now clear that the ravages of COVID-19 have hurt racial minorities much more than whites. The continuing racial atrocities—including the brutal 2017 police beating of jaywalker Johnnie Rush in downtown Asheville, NC; the February murder of jogger Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, GA; the March shooting of EMT Breonna Taylor in her own apartment in Louisville, KY; the Memorial Day harassment of birdwatcher Chris Cooper by a white woman in New York City; and the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis—have cast into the harshest possible light this country’s racism. It would be difficult to imagine starker illustrations of white supremacy.
Now we are in a time of national reaction to the horrific killing of George Floyd. Locally, thousands of citizens have come together to peacefully demonstrate:
- their sympathy with George Floyd and, by extension, all African Americans;
- their dissatisfaction with the police as currently constituted; and
- a demand for solutions, or at least good-faith responses, to abolish the structural racism strangling our country.
In 1957 Wilma Dykeman called on America to do better. “As we have misused our richest land, we have misused ourselves; as we have wasted our bountiful water, we have wasted ourselves; as we have diminished the lives of one whole segment of our people, we have diminished ourselves.” In 2012 the Wilma Dykeman Legacy was established in large part to help sustain Wilma’s core value of social justice and to help move us toward her vision of a just society.
The Board of Directors of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy therefore affirms by this statement that we will join with the community to support Black Lives Matter (the organizers of the Asheville protests), educate ourselves and others to expose white privilege, eliminate the passive racism that protects white privilege, and dismantle the racial inequities which plague our society in ways that no virus can ever match.
The following comprise the board of directors of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy: Becky Anderson, Ellen Carr, Karen Chávez, Dan Clare, Sharon Fahrer, Dan Pierce, Terry Roberts, Elaine Smyth, Jim Stokely.