Jenna Cramer with her husband Rob and son Noah

“Raise your voice, even if it quivers,” wrote Jenna Cramer on Facebook yesterday.

In a moving post, the executive director of the Green Building Alliance broke her silence — as the wife of a black husband and as the mother of a mixed-race son– in this most tumultuous time. NEXTpittsburgh is running her post in full here, along with statements and calls for action from other groups and individuals in our community that we’ve seen on social media or that have hit our inbox.

As a media site, we have never seen this level of support on any issue. While a show of support is critical right now — silence is no longer tolerable — we are more heartened to see a strong call to action.

What can one person do? You can find some answers here.

Will it be different this time? We can only hope. But more than that we can also choose — by committing here and now — to make a difference in our community. Please let us know what you are doing by emailing us here.

From Jenna Cramer: 

“Facebook and social media are not my chosen platforms to make change, but my silence is also no longer okay and is a choice of privilege.

My voice is quivering, and my heart is broken. To all of my beautiful, amazing, powerful, strong, and loving black friends and family — women, men, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, partners, friends, colleagues, leaders — I see you, I hear you, I love you, I’m grateful for you, and I am here for you. I will never understand the fullness of the pain, anger, trauma, frustration, or defeat you all or any black person experiences every single day — but I’m here to stand next to you and bear witness to it.

To my love, Rob, I am here for you and I see you. My heart breaks to see your tears and hear your pain, fear, and hopelessness. I want to do better so you can live in a world where you belong and are loved, and being a black man is not a threat to your safety, health, peace, or happiness.

To my heart, Noah. You are my everything, and I cannot be silent in any area of my life if I ever want you to see and experience a world where you belong and are always seen, heard, loved, safe, healthy, and happy.

To my white family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances — this is OUR work moving forward. We all hold varying degrees of racist beliefs or thoughts regardless of if we want to admit to it — because we grew up in this country during this time where racism and inequity are prevalent everywhere and we have benefited from the color of our skin.

We can commit to doing the self-reflective work — and recognizing how we perpetuate these systems and beliefs — and then commit to actions that support an anti-racist, equitable, and just world.

Growing up I was always taught “Love Thy Neighbor” … but what does that mean with no exceptions? It’s not about love that is convenient, safe or makes us feel good about ourselves. It means loving EVERYONE. It means leaning into the inequities of the world, and addressing racism, oppression, and systemic injustices.

I am here and willing to have conversations with anyone and everyone in my life – no matter where you are on your anti-racist journey. No judgment. I am still on my journey. We all need to start somewhere. But there’s a lot of work to be done — and we need everyone.

I dream about a world where my son, partner, and black friends and loved ones will be okay — and all your children, family, and friends you love will be okay — always. But it will require all of us. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Here are other suggestions from members of our community.

Dina Clark, who works at Covestro, posted a great resource roundup, Your kids aren’t too young to talk about race, and reminded us all to vote:

In a blog for her company, DDI, President Tacy Byham wrote this:

“… And we need to follow through with action, whatever that looks like for you personally. It may mean starting an inclusion and diversity council at your company if you don’t already have one. It may be leading by example for your children. It may mean doing the hard work to make your company culture more inclusive and remove bias. It may be taking to the streets to peacefully demonstrate condemnation of injustice. It may mean deeper political activism. It may mean starting a book or article club with the goal of enlightening yourself and better understanding the experiences of others.”

This call to action is from an e-blast from Ryan Lammie at Radiant Hall:

“…We will direct resources — financial and otherwise — towards positive social change. We will urge our networks to make contributions to Black-led organizations and artists, and we will lead by example. Here are a few organizations that members of our leadership have personally supported:

1Hood Media
SisTers PGH
BOOM Concepts
Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Center of Life
Bukit Bail Fund

From the Tree of Life and Rabbi Jeffrey Myers:

“… Together, we must work even harder to obliterate racism, starting with eliminating ‘H’ in our lives. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in his 1963 book ‘Strength to Love’: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’ All of us have the capacity to love more especially at a time like this. If we all did just one thing out of love to eliminate racism, that would be a great start.”

From the producer Emmai Alaquiva who captured many outstanding photos of the protests: “It hurt to take this shot: BLACK MEN are hurting more than ever before. We don’t have to be tough all the time. Be vulnerably strong. We need more shoulders of love to cry on. You matter.”

Photo from Pittsburgh protest by Emmai Alaquiva as posted on his Facebook page.

This from Beth Marcello of PNC, because we appreciated the kids’ perspective on sorting things out.

And finally, because it bears repeating, this is from Toni Murphy of Comcast.  

Tracy Certo

Tracy is the founder and Editor at Large of NEXTpittsburgh which she started in March 2014 and sold in December 2020. She is passionate about making Pittsburgh a better place for all and connecting people...