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photo - River at Dusk

June 5, 2020

Dear friends and colleagues,

I am reaching out to you to acknowledge the deeply troubled times we are facing as a state and a nation. The horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers last week was a shocking illustration of the long history of violence against African Americans in this country. It unleashed a wave of pain and rage that has engulfed our communities. I condemn this senseless killing—and the structural, systemic racism it represents—with my whole heart.

California is the most diverse state in the nation; this is the greatest source of our strength. Sadly, we are also a state with tremendous disparities across our people and our regions. While the California Dream is alive and well for some, for many others it is increasingly unattainable—or has never been within reach. Here are some facts that attest to the inherent racial inequality tarnishing our state: African Americans are disproportionately arrested and jailed. African American families are the most likely to find themselves at the bottom of the economic ladder. African American students are less likely to get the education they need to succeed in college—an essential ingredient in upward mobility. And now, African Americans are dying of COVID-19 at twice the rate of whites. This is shameful evidence of the systemic failure of our institutions and society.

At PPIC, our work points in one direction: a brighter future for California. We cannot get there without a willingness to explore and expose the inequities that run though all areas of our research—from criminal justice to education to health to our environment. As we move forward, we are committed to this work, and to providing policy solutions that expand opportunity for our state’s diverse communities.

Wishing you good health,

Mark Baldassare
President and CEO

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