Dear Interface Friends,

Tuesday was an emotional day. The trial of George Floyd’s tragic murder concluded, and a jury of Americans told us that this was, in fact, a murder of a citizen at the hands of a law enforcement officer. Communities of color and organizations like Interface, whose sole purpose is to serve all who are in need, grieve the loss of George Floyd’s life and the many examples of persistent and tragic victimization through unjust power that we experience every day. I’m sure many of us are reading the many reflections and tributes – to George Floyd and his family, to the countless other victims of police brutality, racism, and violence that continues to ravage families of color across our nation. It can be tempting to want to throw up our hands in frustration when we see that the conviction of George Floyd’s murderer is a rare occurrence, for there have been many unjust murders before and since then. The endless stream of evidence on social and mainstream media is challenging our nation, our community, and us to reflect and confront the inequality, racism, and the abuse of power that must be acknowledged, must be confronted, and must be changed.

I was particularly struck by the tributes to Darnella Frazier – only 17 at the time, who courageously didn’t look away and videoed George Floyd’s murder for the world to confront and now to remember for all time. Young Darnella’s actions during her own traumatic experience that day made me reflect on what we preach and try our best to do here at Interface. We cannot right every wrong, but we do have important and powerful work to continue to do, and we do our best to call out injustice when we see it – even in the face of powerful opposition at times. We do this because it is our mission to serve others, to protect the vulnerable, and to do this with conviction and care. To do this regardless of whether we are trying to help someone similar to us or different, whether they are a citizen of our country or not, a child without power or voice yet, a person of color the same or different as us, or someone with a sexual preference that might be different than our own. We often say at Interface that “if you see something, say something” in the face of violence and injustice, and this is what we strive to do through our work and our voice at Interface.

However, although we cannot stop every injustice, like young Darnella we choose to stand up and do all that we CAN do. Despite the seemingly intractable injustice and inequities that continue, we must remind ourselves that our efforts still matter – especially to each of our clients whose lives we touch every day. Our efforts often join with others who are trying to also lift our society, and they contribute to much larger impacts. The State of California recently announced plans to close an entire state prison, where 2x to 4x over-represented men and women of color were incarcerated – and Interface has played our part by advocating for and caring for hundreds of men and women of color to reintegrate successfully into our community instead of being needlessly sent back into prison. Ventura County has reduced the numbers of over-represented Black and Latino children taken from their families into foster care, and we have eagerly partnered in that effort through our Homebuilders program. We have chosen as an organization to not look away. It is clearly not enough, but we choose every day to do our part to confront injustice in our community and to partner with anyone who will work alongside us to try to make it right for our neighbors – who are simply human beings deserving equity, respect, justice, and our care. We will continue to do this every day, every month, and every year. Today, two days after George Floyd’s murderer was convicted, we pledge to continue to strive to make it right for the person we are helping today.

Thank you for your passionate support in joining with us,

Erik Sternad
Executive Director