The below statement was delivered by our Board of Directors in August 2020 following the murders of George Floyd, Ahmad Aurbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, and the devastating effects of COVID-19 on communities of color.
Creating Racial Equity – Purpose Statement from the Leadership Greater Washington Board of Directors
The devastating killings of George Floyd, Ahmad Aurbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks and the destruction of countless other black lives, have been enabled by centuries of systemic oppression and racism. Those same systems have led to widespread devastation in communities of color by Covid-19. The racism that permeates U.S. society and institutions was not created overnight and it will not be undone in a matter of days, weeks, months, or a few years. It will be undone through a steadfast commitment to learning, acknowledging, sharing power and privilege, and proactively dismantling racist and discriminatory systems. This will take a concerted effort by all of us, as we identify and rectify the many ways racism and discrimination exist within our businesses, organizations, government, and, yes, even in ourselves.
As leaders at the highest levels in business, government, and the non-profit sector in this region, we are committed to advancing racial equity and taking urgent action to create meaningful and lasting change. Our efforts will not be limited to obvious and overt racism, as change will require swift, continued action to undo more subtle, and more ubiquitous, systems of white privilege and white dominant culture.
Since the founding of Leadership Greater Washington (LGW), its members have come together to address our region’s challenges. Undoing systemic racism in our region is the most critical challenge of our time, and success will take all of us. The commitment of our members has long shaped LGW to be what it is today; an organization that advances racial equity and convenes a diverse group of visionaries to take meaningful action and bring about lasting change. While much work has been done – from the Putting Racism on the Table series to the Civil Rights Learning Journeys to vulnerable Frontline Conversations – we have much farther to go. Let us gather strength from the righteous unrest to fuel our actions and elevate our impact. Now is the moment!
LGW’s unique strength in the quest for racial equity in our region is that we bring together diverse leaders to co-create solutions. By convening leaders from every race, gender, faith, sexual orientation, and ability, we hear a breadth of perspectives and become stronger changemakers against racism.
As we take the time to mourn and heal from the devastating losses brought about by centuries of racism, we look forward to the actions and solutions that will emerge from this moment in history. Let us challenge each other to lead our community with courage, commitment, passion, and collaboration, and make sure this moment will not lose its momentum.
This is only a statement. The most meaningful statement we make will be our actions.
Cook Ross Statement on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Social Justice (IDEAS) - Michael Leslie Amilcar ('19)
Daughters of the Dream - Tamara Lucas Copeland ('04)
Dear Beautiful Black Boy, Dear World - Lifepieces to Masterpieces - Mary Brown ('09)
Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives - Howard Ross ('98)
Recommended Listenings and Readings - Hanh Le ('20)
How to reconstruct an equitable future for our region - Tonia Wellons ('20)
Sample Actions to Help Dismantle Racism and Its Impact - David Bowers ('09)
Washington Area Women's Foundation Stand Together Fund - Jennifer Lockwood Shabat ('15)
How To Be An Antiracist — Ibram X. Kendi
Caste: The Origins of our Discontents - Isabel Wilkerson
Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation's Capital — Chris Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism — Robin DiAngelo, PhD
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America — Richard Rothstein
8 Can’t Wait – project that proposes eight policies to be implemented that would reduce police violence by 75%
Black Lives Matter – Ways You Can Help
Color of Change – online advocacy for racial justice issues
Demonstrations in DC - Know Your Rights - ACLU DC
Equal Justice Initiative
Equity in the Center - works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase race equity