June 4, 2020

Black lives matter. But saying it is not enough.

George Floyd mural

A Message from Paul Williams,
PPL President & CEO:


Black lives matter. But saying it is not enough.

Racism is pervasive in our everyday life.

We know this. It is a foundation of this country built on the backs of our brothers and sisters of color. Today, we see racism appear in many structural ways, through disparities and inequities that are built into our neighborhoods, our schools, our jobs, our government, and our criminal justice system.

It’s systems like these that led to the murder of George Floyd.

These unjust systems continue to result in countless unjustified deaths of black and brown people across the United States.

Racism directly limits access to assets and stability. This gets at the very core of why Project for Pride in Living (PPL) was created - to build hope, assets, and self-reliance for all.

The events of last week have deeply impacted PPL’s broader community. For close to 50 years, PPL has worked tirelessly with many others to revitalize Lake Street, University Avenue, Franklin Avenue, Broadway Avenue, and many more community hubs in the Twin Cities. Much of that work seemed to go up in flames along with the buildings and community we hold so dear.

But, we have not been around for 50 years to give up now. Our commitment to this community is unyielding. We are already connecting with community neighbors and partners to share resources and discuss how to move forward with courage and, most importantly, with capacity to get the job done.

Rebuilding our communities will not be easy. The physical work is actually the easier part of the equation.

The harder part will be rebuilding differently - with community voices and organizations, particularly organizations of color, at the center.

Our state has a generous history of support, but reinvesting through a flawed system will land us in the same place. That strategy fails to build true community agency, and it fails to create voice and power in the community. We can do better and we can be smarter.

You play an important role in what comes next. Authentic dialogue, deeper investment, and true capacity building will be essential. We’ll be in touch in the coming weeks with resources, strategies, and ways to take action.

George Floyd's face is the face of our communities. He is our resident, he is our student, he is our staff, he is our banking class graduate, our proud emerging leader brimming with promise and hope. Just like George, they deserve the promise of a stable and hopeful future. Our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of George Floyd. 

Black lives matter. And our actions towards justice will speak louder than words.


Mural artists: Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, Maria Javier, Pablo Hernandez. 



Additional Reading