Dear CRA Community,
The amount of pain and suffering we are witnessing and feeling is only a snapshot of a broader social reality. We, and everyone before us, have had a role in arriving at where we are today. As such, it is of paramount importance to step up and take a stance. It is our responsibility and a moral imperative to not stand by and simply witness the events around us. We must collectively find our voice and reject racism and inequality. Silence perpetuates, doubt reinforces, and rationalization of incident after incident only compounds the pain so many in our society continue to endure.
While CRA has a long history of celebrating, promoting, and advocating for inclusivity, we cannot be satisfied with continuing the status quo. We will continue to actively stand against discrimination and hatred. We will find new ways to use our voice in Washington to advocate for policies that address the inequities that exist in our field. We will amplify the efforts of our membership organizations wherever we can to help them improve the spaces they occupy and create an environment that is more welcoming, just, and equitable to all. Only together can we begin to right the long history of wrongs that have led us to this place and time.
We start with acknowledging the issues by talking to those around us and explicitly stating that we stand with them when they stand against discrimination and hatred.
We know that racism:
- Is systemic and institutionalized, was intentionally designed, and established well before the foundation of our nation.
- Continues to oppress people of color around the world – denying basic human rights, denying opportunity, and even more tragically denying many of their very lives.
- Is learned behavior that may be unlearned through education, compassion, empathy, and action.
- Drives a wedge between communities, and in doing so limits the enviable quest for a society steeped in respect.
- The privileged benefit from its existence and must be willing to sacrifice to overcome it.
- Lives in our homes, schools, workplaces, parks, churches, stores, amusement parks, government, law enforcement – it lives in us all to varying degrees.
To stand against it, we:
- Acknowledge the existence of racism within our communities and commit to defeating it.
- Call out and reject rationalization of incidents and distortion of information.
- Educate ourselves and those around us to be better equipped to address racism in its many forms.
- Stand up against the status quo by using our voice and agency.
- Commit to systemic change in laws, policies, procedures, etc.
- Dedicate all necessary resources to create lasting change.
Ellen Zegura, Chair of the CRA Board
Andrew Bernat, CRA Executive Director