Dear Atlas Corps Community:
Atlas Corps is dedicated to racial equality and unequivocally condemns racism, hate, police brutality and oppression in all of its forms. We believe that Black Lives Matter. We express our solidarity with those across the United States and around the world who are fighting for racial equity.
Over these days, we have been listening, sharing, and reflecting how we as an organization can best lend our support to the fight for racial justice. We have lots of questions and are only starting to develop some answers. While we still have many questions, we want to take action and to seek out solutions.. This week, Atlas Corps Fellows are virtually gathering together for our Global Leadership Lab Immersion. The theme is Building Social Movements. We have intentionally focused this time on recent events to better leverage our organization as a tool to fight injustice.
The United States is grappling with racial injustice older than the country itself. We’ve seen so many times how Black Americans are victims of police violence– three times more likely to be killed by police than white people. This injustice bleeds into so many areas of American life including health, education and housing disparities. In addition, Black Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and have also been hit hard by the economic recession. As we can see by the protests and marches of the past couple weeks, many people feel grief, anger and fear at the current state of affairs in the U.S. and the long-standing history of institutional racism. Many allies around the world share the anger and grief of the systemic oppression in this country. People are demanding a systemic social change.
Atlas Corps was founded on the realization that talent exists everywhere in the world, but opportunity does not. However, it is not simply that some have more opportunity, but it is also that there are systemic forces actively working to keep others down. These forces are a product of oppressive policies, systems, and cultures that are embedded and normalized in the United States. Racial inequity is not just a result of lack of opportunity, it is also the product of normalized oppression. This has always been true, and we need to articulate this more clearly.
In order to be an anti-racist organization and to address this oppression, Atlas Corps is committed to mobilizing our community towards self-reflection and action, both in the short term, and the long term, in the following ways:
- Speak out against any form of discrimination;
- Strengthen the diversity and inclusion training we provide Fellows and staff to include anti-racist and implicit bias trainings and materials;
- Deepen our commitment to a racially diverse Board of Directors and Team;
- Ensure that Black members of our Fellowship and Team have a sense of belonging in the community and an equitable voice in shaping our work;
- Use our platform to amplify Black voices, particularly through our trainings and communication platforms;
- Examine our policies and behaviors to ensure they combat inequity; and
- Launch a series of conversations and dialogues within our community to discuss how we can be more anti-racist.
Diversity and inclusion is at the heart of Atlas Corps. Our Fellows represent all regions of the world, races, ethnicities, major faiths, and we welcome individuals of all gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, and/or ideologies. Inclusiveness does not mean that everyone will adopt the same views. It does mean that we will not exclude or discriminate against people based off race, national/ethnic origin, language, accent, color, religion, faith, ideology or political position, sex, ability or accessibility, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, family status, class, or socioeconomic status. We will seek inclusive practices; we will strive for an inclusive culture. We will seek to expand opportunity and we will seek to confront oppression. We will not ignore acts of discrimination; we will hold our community up to the highest standards. While our work has primarily been about increasing opportunity, we must also orient our work, our training, and our organization to fight against oppression in all of its forms.
There is much work to do. We have a lot to learn and won’t always get it right, but we will march forward with empathy, humility, and fierce determination.