Dear Community Partners, Friends, and Philanthropic Colleagues,

Victoria Foundation staff and trustees condemn in the strongest of terms the violence and outright murder of innocent African Americans and other people of color. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery underscore the immediate need for systemic, meaningful, and long-term societal changes. Structural racism and white supremacy are at the root of these killings – and they are also at the heart of disparate COVID-19 death rates, educational and opportunity gaps, gentrification and displacement, economic and wealth disparities, and environmental injustices. Now more than ever, we must all come together to end the inequities in our society once and for all.

We applaud and support the citizens of Newark that continue to express themselves peacefully and protect their City. However, we cannot be lulled into a false sense of security thinking that the issues the protesters in other cities across America are marching for are not ever-present in Newark. These include, but are not limited to, the lack of safe and affordable housing, access to better healthcare, jobs that pay a fair wage, high-quality education for all of our children, and being and "feeling" safe in our communities. These human rights are front and center in the hearts and minds of everyday Newarkers.

At Victoria, we are taking this time to reflect and plan on how we can be a better partner, funder, and ally in this fight to address the racial, economic, social, and environmental barriers that have been squeezing the breath out of too many for far too long.

Frank Alvarez Craig Drinkard Irene Cooper-Basch

President Deputy Director Executive Officer