Recognizing that this could be a very long list, we would like to bring into the room, the name of George Floyd. In the strongest possible terms, SIETAR USA:
- Believes Black Lives Matter
- Condemns police violence
- Supports peaceful protest
- Values authentic and honest dialog
Racial injustice is embedded into U.S. culture and there is no single solution that will take care of everything that needs to be changed and improved. We need to begin by eliminating racism in our own SIETAR USA house. We need to listen to each other—in a learning mode—and be willing to explore ways we can make effective changes. The culture of whiteness is one that reinforces and invests in politeness, often discouraging conversations about racism, politics, and religion, allowing an “agree to disagree” mentality to persist. We are seeing very bluntly the outcomes of white communities refusing to work to eradicate racism among us so that we can avoid the brutal outcomes of ignorance, avoidance, and a pervasive inaction when it comes to racism. Among other things that approach favors white comfort over the suffering of Black and Brown people.
SIETAR USA started as a pale organization and because of a commitment to diversity and diligent effort, that has changed over the years, but the issue is not in numbers or percentages. White privilege can be subtle and difficult to recognize, to own, and especially hard to give up. We need to ensure that we have a culture in which we can have ongoing difficult dialogs, where everyone’s voice is heard, and where we maintain a standard that racism in any form, including micro-aggressive racism, is not accepted.
Earlier this year, the SIETAR USA board began a process of an in-depth examination of what SIETAR USA stands for and how we confront racism in our organization. The process requires us as an association of professionals in the field of global inclusion and intercultural relations to have difficult conversations, but most importantly to take action to rectify wrongs. As an association we haven’t always gotten it right, but we invite all of you to stay at the table to continue learning and listening so that we can transform our organization to be a pillar of the field that we know it can be. We start by offering this statement which will only be trusted if it is followed by strong action of all our members.
The SIETAR USA Leadership is committed to being anti-racist and to taking a stand against injustice where we find it, inside or outside of SIETAR USA. But action requires all of us, so that we can fully include and support our colleagues of color and every individual who comprise the SIETAR community. We need to work together to make much needed progress in our association and in our nation.