16 Apr HCF Statement on Adam Toledo
The Healthy Communities Foundation extends our deepest condolences to Adam Toledo’s family and all who loved him—we join in their grief. We also extend our condolences to all who have lost someone beloved to police violence.
We support the Little Village community, a community in our service region, as we come together to grieve and mourn this young 13-year-life lost. We listen and stand firm with community-based partners to demand accountability, seek justice and peace, and attempt to heal under these difficult circumstances.
The shooting and killing of Adam Toledo is the latest tragic example of the real consequences of failed policies and police systems overwhelmingly targeting young Black and Brown boys.
This continuous cycle only deepens the anguish and trauma experienced by Latinx and Black communities—communities that in real-time are enduring the most devastating impacts of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. These communities—our communities—have felt our systems’ failure to respond to the urgent and compounding crises of this moment.
The system failed Adam, and a young life was lost.
We cannot circumvent the cumulative effect the environment around us, the opportunities we can access, and the absence of justice has on our health and well-being. The intentional, long-standing disinvestment in our communities and the simultaneous investment in the criminalization and surveillance of Black and Brown bodies work in tandem to dim the light of our youth’s lives. We simply cannot ignore how compounded trauma from similar and concurrent incidents throughout the country impact the mental health of so many right now—especially youth and young adults.
So, where do we go from here?
With so much work to do, we must first seek to understand how social, economic, and health issues intersect:
We must support the creation of bright futures that include jobs, educational opportunities, and joy by investing in our Black and Brown youth, especially young boys the age of Adam Toledo who are at critical developmental periods.
We must recognize the immeasurable toll on the spiritual, mental, and physical health of communities of color who weather the storms of police violence, historic divestment, and COVID-19.
We must acknowledge how the divestment in communities of color, increased policing, racial bias, and continued criminalization have exacerbated the racial and health inequities we have seen play out for decades.
We must reject media rhetoric that dehumanizes and pathologizes Black and Brown people’s experiences and lives—instead, we must center these voices in response to this tragedy.
Who is the “we” we refer to?
Every one of us—across all sectors and communities. What happens to one, especially a young person, affects us all.
As a philanthropic organization, we are called to call in our peers: if philanthropy seeks to respond to this crisis and others, it must be done in partnership with community in the moments between crises as well. It is necessary to build long-term trust and solidarity with Black and Brown communities. Now is the time to listen deeply to and support the continuing needs and solutions brought forth by community.
Healthy Communities Foundation will continue engaging with and being led by community-based partners during this time. We plan to provide responsive funding to our partners working on the ground and around the clock with community residents as they navigate this moment. Additionally, we will continue to invest deeply in our partners’ work in Little Village and surrounding communities beyond this tragedy.
We also demand accountability of the systems that uphold white supremacy and have been inherently racist since their inceptions. We have to recognize the injustices embedded in our systems and confront our inextricable roles in forging a path forward together.
Despite the sadness, outrage, and pain, we recognize communities’ resilience and strength in our region. We must hold on to the vision of a just world where each of us has the equal opportunity to live full, healthy lives. Alongside community, we will work to keep that vision and hope alive for our region, our families, and our children.