Sign-on Letter: Standing Together Against Racism and Discrimination
We, the undersigned, stand together against the acts of racism and discrimination that are structurally and culturally built into the foundation of this country and manifest in the repeated targeting of Black people. We, therefore, echo the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security & Conflict Transformation (WCAPS) Statements on the Killing of George Floyd. This moment has at last driven into the mainstream a long-overdue conversation about institutional racism. America can no longer ignore the vast inequities that exist in this country and that serve as a powerful catalyst for our communal effort to eradicate the violence that destroys the lives and peace of the citizens of our nation.
As individuals and organizations that work to promote global peace and security, national security, and foreign policy, we are acutely aware of how racism and discrimination obstruct our goals. These racial attitudes exist in all facets of our lives, weakening our democracy, and opposing our values of equality, justice, and freedom.
To root out institutional racism, it is vital that we re-examine our implicit and explicit biases, as well as biases within our organizations. We share a common vision of a world where all people are treated equally, fairly, and with respect.
Institutional racism purposefully disadvantages Black people and people of color through social, economic, and political systems, reinforcing white supremacy, and must be consciously confronted, addressed and removed.
We understand that racism in America and abroad will not be eliminated without a sustained effort. We must work within ourselves, our organizations, and in collaboration against any and all signs of structural racism that continue to permeate our culture, society, and ways of life.
To truly combat racism and achieve our mission of peace and security for all, we must be willing to work on this issue every day. We commit to do so and to hold ourselves accountable. As individuals and organizations, we must:
- Actively change the face of international peace and security by ensuring that our organizations reflect the diversity of America and at all levels.
- Diversify our boards of directors and advisory committees to include Black people and people of color.
- Elevate the voices of Black people and people of color in the media and through other public engagements.
- Educate our leadership and staff on the prevention of racism and discrimination, and on their detrimental impacts.
- Call out racism and share the burden of dismantling white supremacy.
- Acknowledge microaggressions and their detrimental impact on Black people and people of color in the workplace.
- Provide support, including financial support and resources, to groups that are led by Black people and people of color that promote our values.
- Acknowledge the contributions of Black people and people of color and credit their work in the fields of international peace and security.
- Develop a safe workplace where Black people and people of color can share their concerns on issues of racism and racial discrimination.
- Develop meaningful diversity, inclusion, and equity strategies for Black people and people of color, and our efforts on gender diversity will include women of color.
- Develop processes for hiring individuals from local and low-income communities.
- Develop mentorship programs for Black people and people of color in our organizations.
Some of us have already begun work in these areas, while others are just beginning. We recognize that each of us is in different places on this journey and we will work together to achieve these goals. We will join WCAPS in discussions on how we can ensure we are accountable for our efforts to address racism and discrimination in all its forms.
We will be part of the solution.
We need to move forward with a commitment to use our voices, our stories, our ballots, and our liberties to call out injustice whenever we see it, whether it’s happening here in the U.S. or somewhere else in the world.