Based upon the system of white supremacy built by this country, the racism actively perpetuated throughout our society has wounded us for centuries and flourished unchecked for far, far too long.
As has happened countless times before, many are standing up now to say ENOUGH! The number of Black victims of both police and racist vigilante violence just this year is overwhelming—and unacceptable. The lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and many more were all taken too soon as a result of our broken social contract.
It is imperative that we both address the inherently inequitable and dehumanizing system in which we operate and actively work against complacency and ignorance of this system’s destructive power.
In recent years, as our organization’s understanding of white supremacy has deepened, we have begun to take steps to dismantle the institutional bias present in our organization. While we have had and continue to have Black leadership on our Board of Directors and Black members of our staff for many years, we still have much more to learn and much more work to do.
Towards that end, in 2017 we revised our grantmaking guidelines and processes to move towards more equitable decisions in the organizations and projects we support. In 2019 we convened a Racial Equity Work Group comprised of members of our staff and board and worked for six months with consultants Danielle Torain and Samantha Mellerson to undertake a racial equity assessment of our organization—both our internal practices and our external programming. We stand now at the stage of setting priorities for addressing internal inequities as well as those in our partnerships and programming.
While we continue to educate ourselves and work to adopt anti-racism practices, please know we stand firmly with Black victims of police, vigilante, and mob violence—those named above and those who have come before like Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, John Crawford, III, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, James Byrd, Jr., Abner Louima, Rodney King, Emmett Till, and thousands more. We state unequivocally: Black lives matter.
As proponents of the vital necessity of studying and understanding history, we know that many voices and many stories are required to fully understand our past, provide context to our present, and shape our future. We continue to welcome all voices and all stories. We promise to do better and to do so in a just and equitable fashion.