Between our 2018 and 2019 Annual Vigils held in December  there was  a 101% increase in deaths overall (to 117 of whom 86% were black) among individuals in DC living without the dignity of a home


On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the street. The outrage at this act has led to widespread condemnation and protest throughout the United States and in many countries in Europe and elsewhere.

PFFC joins the thousands of organizations that decry this illegal and heinous act of violence by a member of a police force on a defenseless citizen, an act of violence that – far from unique –exemplifies but one of many unnecessary deaths of black US citizens at the hands of police forces throughout the United States.  Many of us, in our capacities as individuals and representing PFFC, have joined the protests that have taken place in Washington DC over the last 10 days; a role we will continue.

However, protesting is not enough, action must be taken by states and territories throughout our nation.  Police who deny individuals of color their legal rights simply because of the color of their skin must be brought to account for their actions with punishments given according to the gravity of their acts. Steps must be taken by police forces throughout the nation to ensure that these senseless acts do not continue. Individuals of color need to receive access to the health care that they deserve; it is unacceptable that such a large proportion of deaths due to COVID-19 are among our nation’s black population. Everyone, regardless of race, color, or gender should be given the opportunity to have access to affordable housing.

PFFC, established twelve years ago to end housing instability in DC through advocacy, outreach and peer mentoring, has an important role to play in ensuring that our brothers and sisters in the District experiencing homelessness, most of whom are black, have access to safe, stable housing. We also have a responsibility to ensure that that people of color who lack housing are not discriminated against: by the police, in receiving housing, in rfceiving health care and in receiving education.

As we approach the summer of 2020, a time of extraordinary challenges for our nation, we continue to carry out our mission with pride and with the hope that, in our own small way, we are contributing to the goals that Martin Luther King expressed in his August 28, 1963 I Have a Dream Speech. In this speech Martin Luther King states: “Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.”