Over the past week, we have seen collective pain across our country over injustices that Black individuals, communities, and families have faced for centuries. This is not new pain, but it has reached a boiling point as the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Abrey, and countless others continue to demonstrate that a Black person can be senselessly killed doing everyday acts. We also know that structural racism and our country’s history underlies disproportionate impacts on Black communities around COVID, unemployment, and poverty that contribute to the rage people are feeling and demonstrating.
Black lives matter. And a statement is not enough.
Racism is perpetuated through everyday acts of police violence, policies, and systems. It is perpetuated through everyday acts of white superiority, like Amy Cooper in Central Park, and microaggressions that lead to “death by a thousand cuts.” And it is also perpetuated through everyday acts in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations that aim to do good, without looking inward to ourselves and shifting how we address the root causes for the problems we care so much about.
We call on you to move beyond a statement and to do the work of advancing racial equity and justice in your organization. We started our racial equity journey five years ago and continue to grapple with how to live our values through everyday acts that are explicitly anti-racist.
We call on you to work in your organization on doing everyday acts that advance:
Diverse leadership – Ensure that you have Black people in positions of authority on staff and on the Board.
Inclusive practices and culture – Shift your practices to be inclusive and actively work against white supremacy culture to honor different ways of doing, being, and working.
Personal responsibility – Don’t expect Black colleagues and colleagues of color to be the voice for equity and justice, to teach, or to even engage in these conversations right now. We need more white people to do their learning and to work with each other to change the systems that lead to these injustices.
Lots of people are expressing outrage, and we need everyday acts of courage that lead to change.
– ProInspire Team