PN Statement in Solidarity with the Struggles against the Racist Police Killings
June 1, 2020
As planners, we have responsibilities to serve multicultural communities and to work towards ensuring access to basic and fundamental services and activities for individuals and communities to both survive and thrive.
This includes housing, health, education, healthy food, arts, recreation, access to green spaces, transit equity and above all safety and freedom from violence: physical and social. But an unjust system that privileges one group of people over others has worked to limit or deny such goods and necessities to Black, Indigenous, People of Color Communities. While the history of the United States was founded on Native land with a large dependence on Indigenous know-how, it was also from the beginning of the Jamestown colony built in part with the labor and contributions of enslaved Africans – the first arriving from Angola within the first decade years of the founding of the English colony. The persistence of systemic racism dishonors these and other contributions by people of color. The history (and present) of planning is implicated in this denial and dishonoring through zoning decisions, the socio-spatial bias of social service provision, the kinds of services that are privileged (e.g. policing), the valuing of (white and elite) property over people, and how these factors guide the location of public and private investment and decision making.
Planners Network stands in solidarity with current struggles on the street to fight against the racist anti-Black policing and violence and commits to advancing anti-racist planning practices. We also affirm the historic contributions of African Americans and other communities of color to the planning history of the United States. However, as anti-Black violence persists in 2020, we cannot be satisfied with merely standing on the sidelines, calling for equity. As planners, we must be actively anti-racist in our everyday practice. We must also be affirmative of the contributions of planners of color, and honor the ancestors and local leaders in designing, dreaming and growing the future of our communities.
Resource: Transformative Planning: Radical Alternatives to Neoliberal Urbanism, ed. by Tom Angotti. Black Rose Books.