Statement from Global Washington
Black Lives Matter. We must raise our voices and do the even harder work that ensures our actions and our institutions reflect this truth. Global Washington members have been speaking out about the horrific racial injustices in the United States, including the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis last week. The ongoing national protests against systemic racism and police brutality have sparked a global response – and the world is watching to see what we will do next. All of us need to stand against institutional racism and do everything in our power to dismantle it. We can and must do better.
Global Washington Member News & Statements
Updated June 16, 2020 |10:50 a.m. PT |
Amazon donates $10 million to organizations supporting justice and equity
Donations to the NAACP, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and UNCF, among others, seek to support education and justice for Black communities across the U.S.
The inequitable and brutal treatment of Black and African Americans is unacceptable.
We believe Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with our Black employees, customers, and partners, and are committed to helping build a country and a world where everyone can live with dignity and free from fear.
As part of that effort, Amazon will donate a total of $10 million to organizations that are working to bring about social justice and improve the lives of Black and African Americans. Recipients—selected with the help of Amazon’s Black Employee Network (BEN)—include groups focused on combating systemic racism through the legal system as well as those dedicated to expanding educational and economic opportunity for Black communities.
In addition, BEN will receive a grant to fund local organizations that support education and racial equality initiatives in communities across the country where our employees live and work.
“Amazon’s leadership and BEN have worked hand-in-hand to identify organizations in the Black community that make a difference and will contribute to them in a meaningful way. In addition to the organizations listed, we will work with our chapters to identify local groups to support,” said Angelina Howard, president of BEN. “We will continue these conversations about how Amazon can support employees and the entire Black community beyond these tragic recent events.”
Together, we stand in solidarity with the Black community—our employees, customers, and partners—in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Statement on LinkedIn by Mark Suzman, CEO
Like many of you the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, culminating in demonstrations across the country this past weekend, have left me feeling a mix of emotions from horrified and hopeless, to anxious and angry.
More than 50 years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. it is outrageous that it should still be dangerous to simply be a black person in the United States.
But it is.
At the heart of all these tragedies is racism. It is our responsibility not only to educate ourselves but to be open to hearing some uncomfortable truths about ourselves and our communities, and to find ways to become part of the solution.
“Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward… There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.” – Nelson Mandela
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Black Lives Matter. Breaking the cycle of poverty cannot happen without also dismantling the systemic oppression and racism that Black people face in the United States and across the globe. We stand with our students, Alumni, community members, staff, community partners, and supporters who identify with this lived experience.
We mourn the loss of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, McKinsley LaKeith Lincoln, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, and Tony McDade. We acknowledge there are countless others who have lost their life due to an unjust system, and this has been happening for far too long.
We also know that we must do more. We believe that through service-learning and education, we can more deeply address the history of racism and colonialism within our U.S. and Global communities on our journey to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations.
We stand in solidarity to continue the fight for justice through equity and inclusion. We are responsible for each other. And we will never give up.
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We Stand With You
At CLA, we are actively learning, listening, and reflecting on the racist events within our country.
- We too are outraged and saddened by the unjust death of George Floyd and many others — senseless acts driven by a long history of racism and division.
- We believe in equity and protecting the human rights of all people and communities.
- We support our CLA family, especially our black, indigenous, and family members of color. We believe their voices should be heard and their experiences validated.
- Though we may not have experienced these pains personally, we strive to make CLA a safe place where we recognize the pain of so many of our CLA family and community members.
- We will not accept anything other than an inclusive, respectful CLA culture, where everyone has opportunity.
We will move forward by,
- Elevating CLA’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, Community Engagement Team and our CLA Foundation’s financial impact to our communities through strategic investments.
- Hearing every voice — actively engaging in courageous conversations.
- Educating our CLA family members on inequity, bias, and inclusion to humbly root out all forms of discrimination among us, with the continued support of our CLA Board of Directors.
We acknowledge that we are on this journey and have a long way to go, but we refuse to be silent and stand idle.
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Days for Girls
At DfG, it is our firm belief that no one should live in fear because of their biology. It is time for equity. As we mourn the murder of George Floyd & so many others, we stand in solidarity with the Black community. A better future is possible – and worth striving for. Together.
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A letter from the F5 Appreciates Blackness (FAB) employee inclusion group.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dear Fellow F5ers:
It’s been said that life is experienced through contrast.
As the world watched an unarmed black man named George Floyd as he begged to breathe, eventually crying out for his mother as he took his last breath, the entire world felt the contrast—between a black person’s too-often walk in the world and a white person’s walk in the world.
Unfortunately, George Floyd’s death isn’t “unusual,” or rare—it just happened to be videotaped.
He tragically joins a long list that most recently includes, Ahmaud Arbery from Georgia, Breonna Taylor from Kentucky, and Christian Cooper from New York City. Black men and women confronted, harassed, and even killed for no discernable reason beyond the color of their skin.
These tragic events and disparities are unacceptable.
The F5 Appreciates Blackness (FAB) EIG’s hearts are heavy. Broken. We are sad, we are scared, we are upset, we are hurt, we are frustrated, we are Black and even more importantly, we are HUMAN.
We are tired of our lives being evaluated and determined by the color of our skin. And we are saddened that in 2020 we are still having the same discussions about the value of a black life that we had 100 years ago.
That said, we are not broken by this—but we do need your strength and support. The U.S. cannot evolve without people from every race, background, and culture coming together to reject injustice and discrimination. This doesn’t mean we are asking you to protest, march, or become part of an activist group if that is not something you feel compelled to do.
We are asking our fellow F5ers to see us—REALLY see and hear us. See us as individuals, professionals, colleagues and as black people with a different life experience. Accept and acknowledge that we DO face profound prejudice that can result in anything from a micro-aggression to death itself. These injustices are not limited to “the streets”—they occur in every aspect of a black person’s life.
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Statement by Scott Jackson, President & CEO
Standing in Solidarity with the Black Community
As the leader of Global Impact, an organization committed to equity and justice, I am deeply grieved by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Aumaud Arbery and the countless other individuals who have been victims of the institutional racism that continues to plague our country. My personal journey has been profoundly impacted by the negative effects of racism as part of an interracial family during America’s Civil Rights movement. Because of these experiences, I have chosen a career of stopping the cycles of abuse, racism, poverty and inequality. To effect lasting change within our communities and around the world, we must work together to elevate and empower the oppressed. Global Impact’s mission is to stand up for the world’s most vulnerable, and we vow to do our part to build a brighter future for all.
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Statement on LinkedIn by Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO.
What Heifer International stands for goes beyond the direct goals of ending hunger and poverty, we advocate for dignified living for people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and identities. We unequivocally believe that all Black lives matter.
In the last few weeks, #COVID19 and other events have laid bare the inequities in our society. There have been reports that #COVID19 has disproportionately impacted people of color, with Black Americans dying at three times the rates of whites. On top of this, the recent killing of George Floyd and others shows not all lives are treated the same and adds more pain to a world that’s trying to heal.
We have to challenge ourselves to do better every day, starting with addressing our own internal biases and treating our neighbors equally. And above all, our systems need to change.
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Human Rights Watch
George Floyd’s Killing and the Black Lives Lost
Reconfirming Our Commitment to Combat Injustice
It is impossible not to be appalled watching the video of a Minneapolis police officer with his knee on George Floyd’s neck as he gasps for his life and finally loses it. No one should ever be subject to such gratuitous violence.
As protests strengthen in the United States and around the world, our outrage is intensified by US authorities’ systemic deference to excessive police force against black people. Police in the US kill black people at twice the rate of white people – three times the rate when they are unarmed. Yet six years since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and so many others whose names and memories we must honor, policymakers have yet to end the routine impunity that enables such killing.
Meanwhile, officials in the US seem to prefer endless investment in law enforcement to address the entrenched racism that for generations has created dramatic racial disparities in health, housing, education, employment, and rates of arrest and criminal conviction. The coronavirus pandemic shines a spotlight on these disparities, with black people and other minorities disproportionately affected due to a constellation of factors that include the “comorbidities” of poverty, the reluctance of many people to seek timely health care because they aren’t sure how they will bear the cost, and a tattered social safety net that gives many low-income people no choice but to work in frontline jobs, despite the health risks involved. That such a wealthy nation treats its own people so callously fuels the fury over George Floyd’s death.
These issues are at the heart of Human Rights Watch’s work. We seek to end abusive police violence and to stop profound discrimination and brutality in policing. Along with our partners, we also work to change government programs, from education to health care, that deepen rather than remedy inequality and leave far too many people mired in destitution and despair.
George Floyd’s cruel and pointless death, and the litany of black lives that were lost before, reconfirms our commitment to combat these injustices. We stand as an organization and a community for a world where no one need fear the police because of the color of their skin, where the criminal justice system treats everyone fairly and equally, and where governments at all levels focus on helping the most vulnerable with educational, healthcare, and social programs to ensure each person a life of dignity with a fair chance to reach their potential.
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Mercy Corps has always believed in the power of people to create positive social change. In more than 40 countries around the world, we work side by side with people living through poverty, suffering and oppression in their struggle to build a better future.
We stand with the Black community in the United States in the fight for justice, equality and an end to systemic racism. We join a nation in grief over the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others. We recognize the systemic racial inequity that puts Black lives at risk every day in the United States and continues to be prevalent in every aspect of American society, including economics, politics, education, employment and justice. The disproportionate impact of coronavirus on people of color, who are more likely to lose their jobs, more likely to get sick and less likely to have adequate access to health care, is yet more evidence of these inequities.
We know that Mercy Corps as an organization, and the international development community as a whole, must contend with a history rooted in colonialism and a present that is deeply inequitable. We are early in our journey, and there is much work to do. Mercy Corps is committed to listening, learning and taking action, including in our own recruitment, hiring and support of team members of color. We will continue to confront discrimination, promote equality and stand up for humanitarian values in the United States and around the world.
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Tweeted statement from Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation.
“There is no place for hate and racism in our society. Empathy and shared understanding are a start, but we must do more. I stand with the Black and African American community and we are committed to building on this work in our company and in our communities.”
NOTE: The company has been using its platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community at Microsoft. Follow those statements here: https://twitter.com/Microsoft
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Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
BECAUSE BLACK LIVES MATTER
Like so many of you, the staff and board of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project have been alternately horrified, angry, and bereft at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many other Black people in Washington State and across the United States. Despite our work in an immigration system that is also permeated by White supremacy, we have been struck anew by the glaring, systemic racial inequities that both police brutality and the COVID-19 pandemic have once again laid bare so vividly in the past weeks and months.
We stand in solidarity with Black communities in the fight against systemic racism, anti-Blackness, and police brutality. Unequivocally. And we are fierce in our determination to continue standing with Black people and investing in their liberation until true peace with justice has been won. Today NWIRP is proud to join over 450 immigrant rights organizations across the United States in issuing this statement of solidarity with Black communities.
After 36 years of fighting for human rights within an immigration system infused with structural racism, NWIRP staff and board know all too intimately that the journey to racial equality still lies rocky before us all. But we know, too, that Black people in this country have been fighting hundreds of years longer than we against the relentless cruelty and selfishness of White supremacy. We are humbled and honored to fight alongside this movement.
In coming weeks and months and years ahead, we at NWIRP will continue to work for human dignity in the courts and in our communities, but we will also be continuing our efforts to become a wholly anti-racist organization – a goal we know to be not an endpoint, but a journey in and of itself. Anti-Blackness exists within the immigrant rights movement, and we are committed to looking at ourselves as well as others in the fight to eradicate racism.
We know that this work is difficult. We are inspired by the bravery of our Black siblings and of all those standing up for racial justice today to continue. We know this work is critical, and we go forward into it with glad and willing hearts. Because Black Lives Matter.
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Online statement by Abby Maxman, President and CEO of Oxfam America.
“The freedom to assemble and protest is a cornerstone of our American democracy and fundamental to who we are as Americans. The streets of our cities are not warzones, and people on those streets are not combatants.
“Oxfam strongly believes in the power of people to make systemic change. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those who demand justice, accountability, and decisive action to end the institutionalized racism that persists in the US, and we loudly affirm that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
“As a rights-based organization, Oxfam works every day to end the injustice of poverty and uphold the fundamental human rights of vulnerable people. As a humanitarian organization working around the world, we have seen firsthand the devastating consequences of suppressing peaceful protest and the right to dissent.
“The US historically has championed democracy and human rights around the world, including the fundamental freedoms to participate, protest, and speak out, all of which are under attack today here at home. Rather than stand with the oppressed in the pursuit of a more perfect democracy, President Trump appears to be taking his cues from some of the very regimes the US has previously criticized.
“The sight of military vehicles on our streets and predator drones in our skies in response to peaceful protests is shocking and devastating. People of color have shouldered the brunt of militarized over-policing for years, supported by the 1033 Program which allows the Pentagon to transfer weapons of war to the streets of cities and towns across our country. Around the world and here at home, the militarization of police forces threatens the human rights of citizens to express dissent.
“We call on Congress to urgently end this problematic practice of transferring military equipment to police forces right now. We support the bipartisan efforts currently underway to urgently amend the National Defense Authorization Act to end the 1033 Program under which those transfers take place.
“Today, and every other day, we stand with those demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey, and the countless other black people who were killed by a racist and broken American system. And we ask that all of us join in the movement to right the wrongs of discrimination and hate in our country.”
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Racism is a centuries-long public health crisis that demands a public health response.
At PATH, our mission is achieving health equity. So today, as an institution, we acknowledge racism as an ongoing public health crisis that requires our action, humility, and solidarity.
For centuries, Black and brown communities have been deeply disenfranchised in the United States. It has been 35 years since a first report showed that while the United States was progressing in health outcomes overall, Black communities and some other communities of color were falling behind.
Written today, the same report would find that because of systemic racism, Black infants are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthdays than white infants; that Black and Native women are 2-3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women; that police violence is a leading cause of death for Black men and boys; and that COVID-19—the worst public health crisis in a century—is disproportionately impacting Black, Native, and Latino communities.
Sometimes in our sector, we point to graphs to say the world is getting better, and to offer hope. But as our Black and brown communities know well, things aren’t getting better for everyone.
And while racism has a uniquely devastating role in the history of the United States, it is a global crisis, marginalizing people and communities everywhere.
As global public health leaders and advocates, we will speak out. We will consult with and defer to communities most impacted. We will face and work to change all the ways racism underlies how we operate—from systemic macro practices to everyday micro abuses. We will hold ourselves and our leaders accountable. And we will take action to address racism in public health as a fundamental tenet of our mission to achieve health equity.
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Online statement by Kiran Ahuja, CEO.
Building an Anti-Racist Future
America was built by design. We are dealing with the cost.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, James Scurlock, David McAtee.
We say their names. We honor their memory. May there be no more Black lives lost on our watch.
We look to movement leaders who have come before, like acclaimed writer James Baldwin, who wrote:
“The reason that Black people are in the streets has to do with the lives they are forced to lead in this country. And they are forced to lead these lives by the indifference and the apathy and a certain kind of ignorance, a very willful ignorance, on the part of their co-citizens.”
Those words still ring true today, 52 years later, though our hope is the protests around the country signal not only shifting winds but finally coming to terms with our racist history as a country, and addressing it head-on. We must do everything in our collective power to right historic and present-day injustices so that we build an anti-racist future in service of the Black and Indigenous visions for a world where we can all truly be free.
I didn’t always have the words, and sometimes I’m at a loss even today. But it is my belief that as an individual you can’t be a true ally to Black communities until you take it upon yourself to understand our racialized history in its most intimate and heinous forms — and learn, as I did, that all forms of discrimination flow from the subjugation of Black and Indigenous people. And in philanthropy, we won’t be a true supporter without funding organizations that seek to address racial inequities in all their forms. I commit myself to doing this work alongside you.
I will continue to stand under the guidance and leadership of Philanthropy Northwest’s DEI Committee and our board’s Equity Design Working Group to be in service of Black leadership, imagination, experience and liberation. And I do believe that our organization — like all those around us — can and should play a more vocal role in our country’s eternal battle for racial equality.
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With relationships across tribes, races, countries and continents, Pilgrim Africa stands in solidarity with the fight against the evil of racial injustice, in all of its forms and wherever it is found.
The centuries of systemic racism in America are the antithesis of our values and goals as a Christian organization. We believe all human beings are made in the image of God, and that racism mocks the words of Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
We believe the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery—and countless other Black lives lost in the United States due to brutality and racism—are fundamentally unjust. The ongoing abuse of the Black community damages our world, choking out the intelligence, innovation, creativity, and peace that is born from diverse collaboration.
To be anti-racist requires more than statements and mere intellectual assent. We must work within the bonds of real relationship, with humility and perseverance, to dismantle unjust systems and create policies that affirm the struggles of real people.
Join us in this time as we listen, reflect, and seek God’s mercy in prayer. Together.
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What PwC is doing to stand up against racism
Message from Tim Ryan, PwC US Chair and Senior Partner:
I am writing this because I am heartbroken by the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and the countless other Black individuals before them. I am also deeply frustrated by the racism that still exists in this country. Although I am not a member of the Black community, this issue is still personal to me.
I co-founded the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion in response to the killing of unarmed Black men in the summer of 2016. Two years later, in 2018, we lost a member of our PwC community, Botham Jean, to this same kind of violence and I witnessed the pain his family had to — and still has to — endure over the loss of their son and brother.
Over the past week, I have heard from thousands of people, from PwC and elsewhere, and have come to a greater understanding of the hurt, anger, and exhaustion that the constant threat of violence and oppression takes on the Black community. And while I acknowledge that it is not the job of our Black colleagues to teach the rest of us what to do, I am grateful for how many of them have stepped forward to not only share their pain, but also their ideas, with me. I am also inspired by how many of our people from all backgrounds want to be part of the solution.
It is my responsibility as a leader to not only stand with them against racism to condemn these killings, but to use my privilege to be a part of the solution and take action – to help dismantle the racism and injustice that has become so pervasive in our society. I know that change must start at home, so I want to share what we at PwC are doing to support our Black colleagues, to improve diversity and inclusion efforts within our firm, and to contribute to the efforts of those who are fighting for racial justice and equality on the front lines.
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Letter from Tony Mestres, President & CEO
To Seattle Foundation’s Community —
Our community and our country are grieving. People across the United States, and increasingly around the world, are pouring into the streets to make their voices heard, and to mourn and honor George Floyd, and countless other lost Black lives, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Manuel Ellis. They also stand against the cultural racism we know is present in everyday life for so many, as exemplified through the racialized threats made against Christian Cooper in Central Park. As my esteemed colleague Dr. Helene Gayle, CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, said, “George’s life mattered, and it mattered long before his name was added to a long list of Black men and women whose lives were stolen at the hands of police and civilians who failed to see the humanity in their fellow American citizens.”
Over the past week, I have been holding the emotions of outrage, sadness, and frustration. I am also holding the principles of humility and conviction—conviction to lead and live our values and our mission in service to our community, and to not shy away from this moment.
Black Lives Matter.
For many in our community and country, this grief and trauma caused by racial violence are nothing new, and their effects are compounding. Racism, systemic inequities, and white supremacy have persisted in the United States for generations upon generations, and they will continue to persist if we don’t look deeply in our hearts and examine what needs to be done differently moving forward. For some in our community, the events of the past several days have been shocking. For others, they have been all too familiar and painfully close to home. Black people have been leading—and continue to lead—social movements working to address systemic racism and oppression since the abolitionists fought to end slavery; white people need to step up as partners, shoulder the burden, and engage one another in eliminating racism and helping to build coalitions during these times.
This moment echoes other seminal moments in history. Perhaps most poignantly, 1968 was also marked by the fight for civil rights against systemic racism, including anti-Black racism at the hands of law enforcement. Our actions up until this moment have led us here, but now we must take stronger actions together. We must do more, and that includes redirecting philanthropic resources where they are needed most. As a student of American history, I am convinced this may be one of the few moments in history we can actually turn the tide. We cannot let the confluence of experiences comparable to 1918 (the flu pandemic at the end of WWI), 1929 (the start of the Great Depression), and 1968 (the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the social unrest that followed) perpetuate without powerful civic leadership and bold philanthropic action.
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Dear Splash community,
I wanted to share my perspective on the troubling times we find ourselves in. It’s one of many such messages you are likely seeing these days, but to be neutral right now is simply not an option.
Thus, let me start my note without caveats or disclaimers: Black Lives Matter.
I have always viewed, and will always consider, Splash as a social justice organization first and foremost. We are one of thousands of global development organizations working to end extreme poverty around the world – both the conditions that cause it and the resulting effects of it. We just happen to be working in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) space. The vast majority of our team come to this work out of a sense of dedication to others, a deep calling toward greater equality for all, and a firm commitment to a life of service.
Every few years, I find myself stopping all office activities so that we can discuss a trend that simply doesn’t go away here in the US, though it may seem to ebb and flow at times. Right now is one of those times when there is a horrible new wave of killings of black men and women in this country. I should check myself – it isn’t new, by any measure, there just happen to be more killings caught on video recently and thus in the public eye.
Ahmaud Aubrey in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and now, most recently, George Floyd in Minnesota. These are only the most recent three big news stories and they aren’t names everyone will know globally. But they are names that should be etched into everyone’s minds here in the US as we hit another rash of public killings of unarmed black men and women.
In the total absence of any unified national political leadership effectively calling this out, it becomes incumbent on all of us to, at the very least, give words, focus, and energy to unpacking and ultimately unraveling this virulent and systemic racism. Within that, it is imperative that organizations such as ours do more than simply state their opposition and provide clear evidence that we have skin in this game, too. We are not doing enough to simply be “not racist,” we must be actively anti-racist.
At Splash, we are supporting US staff to take time off from work to protest, to volunteer, to offer their time and resources to back organizations making a dent in this complex and terribly difficult moment. In the coming days, we will explore what more we can do to become better allies in the fight for justice here at home, even while most of our work continues abroad. Most importantly, we are trying to listen, reflect, learn from, and follow leaders in the movement.
While we certainly don’t have all the answers, we’d like to share an Anti-Racist Resource Guide you may find helpful during this time: https://tinyurl.com/antiracistresourceguide
Splash Founder & Executive Director
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Black lives matter. We are committed to being a part of change.
We are committed to taking action, learning, and supporting our Black partners, customers and communities.
The Starbucks Foundation is committing $1 million to organizations promoting racial equity and more inclusive and just communities.
Organizations will be nominated by Starbucks partners (employees). We will continue to work to confront bias and racism.
We have partnered with Arizona State University to design anti-bias resources and training. You can access these courses at no cost at sbux.co/learn.
We are actively hosting open and necessary conversations with our partners (employees) about racism the Black community faces.
Our work does not end here.
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University of Washington
Post by Ana Mari Cauce, UW President.
Lifting the veil: understanding the clarity this moment offers
I’m terrified to go outside.
I don’t know what people see when they look at me.
Do they see a strong, resilient, educated woman?
Do they see someone who is their ancestors’ wildest dreams?
Do they see a woman who has friends and family they love?
I’m terrified to go outside.
I don’t know what people see when they look at me.
Do you only see my skin color?
Do you only see the stereotypes others created for me?
Do you only see your fear?
I’m terrified to go outside.
I don’t know what people see when they look at me.
My brothers and sisters are villainized for asking questions.
My brothers and sisters are detained for walking on a public street.
My brothers and sisters are killed for existing.
I’m terrified to go outside.
I don’t know what people see when they look at me.
I wonder when I will be harassed for existing.
I wonder when the police will be called to my door.
I wonder when I will be the one mourned.
I’m terrified to go outside.
– Laura Cañate, MBA ’18
The last few weeks and months have been a time of jarring contrasts. Community members donating masks sewn by hand to protect essential workers, while mask-free revelers flout distancing mandates at pools and beaches. Groups of armed white demonstrators march against stay-at-home orders at state capitols with impunity, while for Black Americans the simple act of walking down the street, jogging or birdwatching can be fraught with danger, and even end in death. Too many are left to wonder, as does UW MBA alumna Laura Cañate, ‘18, “when I will be the one mourned.”
Many of us have seen those compelling “before and after” pandemic pictures of cityscapes around the world. The before pictures show buildings shrouded by pollution while the after pictures reveal majestic mountains or vast stretches of squalid, overcrowded houses in the background. It’s like a veil has been lifted allowing us to see more clearly what was there all along.
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“For to be free is not merely to cast off ones’ chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela
We are in the midst of a historical reckoning. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery –as well as so many others whose names we will never know – have created a groundswell of action around the world. We must raise our voices to protest and condemn institutionalized racism and law enforcement violence. We must act to dismantle racism.
VillageReach was founded on the belief that where you live or the color of your skin should not determine whether you live or die. Yet here in the United States, where VillageReach is headquartered, a history of systemic racism has created large disparities between white and Black Americans. Disparities in death rates from COVID-19 is merely one of many recent examples of this.
Racism is a public health issue. It always has been. And while so many of us in the US reckon with our history, we have to reckon with the history of colonialism that continues to be present in global health.
As an organization that works in Africa, we recognize how we have a long way to go to dismantle this combined history of racism and colonialism. We know that organizations led by people of color receive less funding. We know that investments made in health care for a high-income country are called ‘unsustainable’ by donors when made for a low-income country, even when it is absolutely the right thing to do to save lives. We know that our own leadership needs to reflect – not just in representation but also in voice and power – the diversity and collective strength of our primarily African team.
We are committed to continuing our work to realize our value of Diversity and Inclusion. We will make ourselves accountable and take concrete actions. We will do this by reviewing our own policies and practices while maintaining open dialogue with our staff and Board of Directors about where white supremacy and institutionalized racism shows up in our organization and in our work.
As Nelson Mandela so eloquently states, “Our own freedom is not sufficient unless it enhances and secures the freedom of others.” We are willing to do whatever it takes to stay true to our convictions.
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Emailed statement from Alyse Nelson, President and CEO
Dear Vital Voices Community,
Like so many, I am deeply saddened and enraged by the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Botham Shem Jean, Sandra Bland and countless others. This growing crisis on top of a global pandemic further exposes the glaring inequities that permeate our society. I have been grappling with the role that each of us has in dismantling a systemic, centuries-old culture of racism and inequity.
At our core, Vital Voices is an organization that invests in and amplifies women leaders across the globe who are doing the tireless work to positively impact their communities. For almost 25 years, we have recognized the critical role that leaders around the world play when they speak truth to power and put themselves on the line for what is right. The last week has forced us to reckon with what is happening in our own country.
The truth is, that reckoning should have come sooner. For far too long we have been quick to support women leaders doing this deeply-needed work across the globe, not always recognizing the active role we should play in elevating more Black women’s voices who are doing this tireless work in our own backyard. That ends today.
As an organization committed to women’s leadership and gender equality, we are keenly aware that the women’s empowerment movement has often been one of exclusion. From Black suffragists being sidelined to feminist movements that only centered white women, we must recognize the complicit and often harmful role we play. Good intentions are never an excuse for marginalization.
As President & CEO, I take ownership for our past and commit to do better. This means looking internally within our own organization to continuously examine how we can build a more inclusive environment, and call out implicit bias. We are reworking our programming to ensure that it is more inclusive and intersectional. We know that the plight of equality and women’s leadership is not monolithic. We will not do this perfectly, but we will keep doing better.
We know that true equality cannot exist if Black women, and other women of color, are excluded from the struggle for societal change.
To our community, and most importantly, our team, Network members, and partners who are hurting deeply – please know that we are with you, we will fight for you. We will listen, learn and take action. We will try, fail and try again. We will use our platform to bring attention to these critical issues and to shine a light on the women leaders who are thanklessly doing this work. Unequivocally, we state that Black Lives Matter.
President and CEO
Vital Voices Global Partnership
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Black Lives Matter.
For our organization, this past week has been spent in reflection and learning as we stood in solidarity with and listened to the stories and experiences of our Black colleagues and neighbors.
We know there is more work we can and must do.
Companies that are committing to being a force for change must take steps beyond social media posts.
We are working to establish meaningful, concrete actions our organization can take internally & externally that will positively contribute to the fight against racial injustice.
To start, we’re organizing allyship events, developing mandatory racial equity training for all employees (on top of our existing DEI strategy, resources, and anti-bias training), and creating processes to increase diversity in the Vulcan supplier network.
We are also including more Black and POC voices in content and social media across our ocean health, conservation, and climate change programs, and exploring how and where our community-focused philanthropy can contribute meaningfully to racial equity in the U.S.
We’ll share more as our journey continues.
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We stand in solidarity with the Black community
Dear Nonprofit Community,
We are all deeply saddened and affected by the murder of George Floyd and recent events. We stand with our friends, families, and the Black community in this time of tremendous pain and sorrow.
This is not a new problem, and the nonprofit community is not exempt from racist behavior. Anti-Black violence and institutional racism are woven into the history of our nation for the past 400 years and pervade all our civic systems and institutions. But each new day is a new opportunity to learn and to act courageously to dismantle racism. We invite you to be a part of the dialogue about racism and racial equity in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit Quarterly is currently running special coverage including a wealth of articles that challenge us to examine our own institutions and work for greater equity.
We recognize that we are a predominantly white organization that must move beyond pledge and platitudes to deliver an organization that reflects our values and community. Today we recommit ourselves to work for racial equity inside and outside the nonprofit sector.
We do not know where this will all lead us. We will stand in unity with our Black nonprofit organizations, friends, families, and communities.
The Staff and Board of Washington Nonprofits
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World Affairs Council
Online statement by Jacqueline Miller, President and CEO
His name was George Floyd. We know his name. Their names were Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland. There are countless others, over many centuries, whose names are known only to their families. They were killed at the hands of police or at the hands of civilians who thought they had the right to police a Black American. They were killed because they were Black. But it was the video showing the final minutes of George Floyd’s life, the knee of a Minneapolis police officer pressing down on his neck, that was the spark that triggered large and sustained protests in every U.S. state and around the world.
The United States has long been, imperfectly, the global standard-bearer for human rights, individual freedom, and dignity; the “shining city on the hill.” Instead of the United States putting a spotlight on the shortcomings of other countries to protect their own citizens, the spotlight is now uncomfortably on our consistent failure at home to respect and protect the lives of Black Americans and all people of color. The world is watching as protesters loudly and insistently demand that we do better as a country and finally, seriously, meaningfully confront the racism that has always been a part of American society; that we finally live up to our founding principles by extending equality and dignity and value to all Americans. The protesters are on the streets every day. Maybe you are, too, expressing your personal pain or acknowledging the pain that Black Americans and all communities of color have suffered from institutionalized racism in the United States.
The World Affairs Council has been a part of this community since 1951, working to cultivate understanding across cultures, learning from one another, and fostering more thoughtful and humane communities. These incidents force us to look more deeply at who we are here at home. As an organization, we are listening to our local community, which is in pain. We are in pain. We stand with Black Americans and communities of color in insisting on racial equality in criminal justice, health care, education, and economic opportunity. The global pandemic made starkly evident the extent of the marginalization of Black Americans, who are dying at higher rates from COVID-19 and who are suffering disproportionately from the economic downturn. People are literally risking their lives during this pandemic to fight for the equal rights of all citizens. The promise of equality and respect for individual freedoms and human dignity has made the United States a global leader—but we have failed at home. The world is watching because the stakes of current protests extend globally. To insist on the protection of individual rights and the rejection of authoritarianism, we must rid the United States of the covert and overt racism that has held us back from truly being that “shining city on the hill.” Our failures have global consequences. We join with our community and with our country in support of Black Americans and all communities of color. Black lives matter.
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World Justice Project
The World Justice Project (WJP) condemns the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, the latest in a string of killings of Black people in the United States that highlights the persistent challenge of systemic racism in its criminal justice system and society as a whole. As an organization headquartered in the United States, WJP is compelled to address this glaring gap in U.S. rule of law performance.
The United States has struggled since its earliest days to provide equal treatment under the law. In our 2020 WJP Rule of Law Index, the U.S. ranks 88th out of 128 countries for discrimination in the criminal justice system. The .37 score (1 being a perfect score) is the United States’ worst single mark of the 44 rule of law sub-factors measured by the Index.
In the area of civil justice, the U.S. scores .39 in the sub-factor measuring discrimination, placing the U.S. 115 out of 128 countries worldwide—its lowest sub-factor ranking. In the general category of Fundamental Rights, the U.S. ranks in the upper quarter of all countries at 26th out of 128. However, in the sub-factor for equal treatment/absence of discrimination, the U.S. ranks 96 out of 128 countries.
The recent killings give these appalling statistics a human face. Our organization was founded to promote the rule of law as the foundation for communities of justice, opportunity, and peace, but these essential elements are not the reality for many U.S. communities. We must honor the right of people to peaceably assemble and speak and thereby petition their government for redress of grievances, and we must protect the fundamental right to hold government accountable and seek justice for all.
The WJP will undertake research and advance reforms of policy and practice to end racism and all forms of invidious discrimination anywhere in the world. We must all work together to reinforce our community commitment to the rule of law. In the words of Nelson Mandela, a beacon of the rule of law and an enduring inspiration for the WJP, “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all.”
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YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish
Online statement by Maria Chavez Wilcox, CEO
A Letter to Our Community
Day and night for the past week, we have witnessed thousands of people filling the streets in cities across the United States to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and other victims of state-sanctioned violence and systemic racism.
Just outside of the Seneca and Opportunity Place YWCA’s in downtown Seattle, we have seen crowds gather in a collective expression of grief and frustration, to #SayTheirNames, and to provoke accountability and change in our community.
We cannot let the actions of individuals and institutions who do not support the movement for racial justice distract from the purpose of these protests – to call out the long history of systemic racism in our country, state-sanctioned violence against Black communities, and deep-seated inequities faced by people of color.
YWCA stands in solidarity with Black Americans, who are disproportionately incarcerated, assaulted, and killed compared to any race in the United States. “George Floyd was one of ours,” said Gaye Adams Massey, CEO of YWCA St. Paul. “He took advantage of a training program YWCA offered, and like many of those we partner with, he was taking steps to build a brighter future. The anger, anguish, and grief we are feeling in this community is real.”
“Unfortunately, George Floyd is just one of countless other Black lives lost to police violence,” said Michelle Basham, CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. “We must work toward racial justice. And we must work in partnership with others to hold our elected officials and law enforcement accountable.”
Even during a global pandemic, we must come together to call for the people responsible for these acts to be held accountable, and to fight for change in systems that perpetuate oppression and discrimination. Nothing will change until we speak up and dismantle these systems.
You don’t have to put your health at risk or stand on the front lines to make a difference. Sign a petition, make a donation, volunteer for a phone bank, speak up, and just do something.
Show that Black lives matter by reading and sharing articles by Black public figures, organizations, and activists. Support Black-owned businesses in your community.
Understand that for Black Americans, police brutality isn’t a new issue. Our institutions were built on a foundation of racism and discrimination, and our nation’s history is filled with incidents of state-sanctioned violence against Black Americans.
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, and our mission remains as important today as it has ever been. This is difficult work, and it will take each and every one of us to make it happen. We are committed to the work of racial justice, and each one of you is critical to that work.
Thank you for joining YWCA on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and transform our community with equity and justice.
Maria Chavez Wilcox
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