Change Starts at Home

By Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO, Beyond Housing

George Floyd should be alive.

Rayshard Brooks should be alive.

Ahmaud Arbery should be alive.

Breonna Taylor should be alive.

Michael Brown should be alive.

Tamir Rice should be alive.

Eric Garner should be alive.

The list could go on, but the one fact that remains is there shouldn’t be a list.

Police violence against people of color needs to stop today, right now. But that’s not all that needs to stop. Police brutality is a symptom of the underlying issues. These issues are comprehensive—and so must be the solution.

It will require more than a change of heart. It will require a change of course, change of policy, change of accountability, change of transparency, and change in resources, not just in policing but in all aspects of our society.

It’s time to end the systemic racism that has been so clearly seen in the horrific videos over the last decade plus. But also the kind of racism that is not always overt or even intentional but, for too many Black Americans, is almost always present in some way. It’s a kind of racism that is so deeply ingrained and embedded within parts of our society that unless you are experiencing its oppression, it can go easily unnoticed.

Not anymore. Our country is calling for change. The call will not stop until enough of us answer.

Here at home, this will require us to take hard look into our collective mirror and ask the difficult questions.

St. Louis has long been a tale of two cities. To continue to exist divided by such extreme contrast and disparity has been and will continue to be to the detriment of us all.

It’s my hope that we finally realize that these inequities of color create division, that division creates mistrust and resentment, and that decades of mistrust and resentment have no other outlet than to boil over when provoked to create the flashpoint that we find ourselves in now.

It’s my hope that the events taking place across our nation and here at home will not sow deeper divisions but will ultimately motivate us to address the longstanding issues that have created the chasm between us.

Solutions exist. It’s time to get to work.

It’s time to finally undo the longstanding effects of the housing policies in our past that have excluded people of color from opportunity.

It’s time to work harder to stop the marginalization of so many Black children that begins the minute they are born and escalates the moment they enter school from grades K-12.

It’s time to bring more of our fellow St. Louisans into the fold of greater opportunity to earn a living wage, break old stubborn cycles that do not serve any of us, and create a better, sustainable future for all.

It’s time to support and nurture more Black entrepreneurs.

It’s time to remove the indefensible disparities of health that exist by color.

It’s time to work harder to make our part of the world a more just and fair place for all—because our future depends on it.

We all have our role.

At Beyond Housing, we pledge to continue to do our part by working even harder for the families and communities we serve.

Because change doesn’t come from the outside. It comes from within.

Change must start at home.

Chris Explainer

Chris Krehmeyer I’ve been working in community development in the St. Louis area for 25 years, and I’ve been the CEO of Beyond Housing since 1993. While I’m proud of our accomplishments, I don’t claim to be an expert. At Beyond Housing, the experts we listen to are the voices of the community members we serve. I’ll be raising issues here that I believe matter to our community. I hope you’ll join the conversation. We do reserve the right not to post comments containing offensive language. To paraphrase Dr. King, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

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