Over the past ten days, members of our community have been reaching out to one another in compassion and support, driven by the unfolding social justice movement we are seeing spread throughout our nation. Most Americans are outraged, eyes are opening, and a chorus of Black and non-Black people, the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the LGBTQ and the ally, are all uniting in the belief that Black Lives Matter. I personally believe that Black Lives Matter and am resolute that at the CIA we all must believe that Black Lives Matter, and act accordingly.
The country is moving further in fully reconciling the difficult truth about systemic racism that is a result of hundreds of years of ownership, oppression, segregation, separation, and all forms of inequity. Governments, institutions, companies, small-businesses, and, yes, colleges and restaurants, are grappling with the realization of how they may have perpetuated the enduring effects of this history. We are part of this reconciliation and must move forward with explicit opposition to systemic inequality and the resulting racism against the Black and African-American community, and the recognition we need to do more.
I am deeply disturbed that it took the desperation of our Black and African-American community to reach a fever pitch to fully awaken this. And while the news media may be focusing on the violent actions of a relative few, the active, but peaceful protest, the passion, the solidarity, the challenging questions that are being asked and the conversations that are being had, can mark a turning point. But turning that corner is going to be up to all of us.
Earlier this week, I wrote to our students, faculty, and staff to share my disgust at the appalling and particularly brutal killing of George Floyd, reaffirm the respect for diversity we value and must achieve as an institution, and express that we all must exhibit compassion, recognize the consequences of bias and institutional racism, and seek understanding. Now, I want to share some important next steps for the CIA in shaping a more positive and equitable future.
The recent events and conversations have reaffirmed the importance of many of the initiatives that have been carried out across our community to date: the ongoing efforts of our internal Diversity Council and many campus groups; the development of a Diversity Advisory Council comprised of prominent Black and African-American alumni to help us increase Black and African-American representation amongst our faculty and staff; and student/faculty programs over the past year that spoke meaningfully to the issues we are confronting today. With that said, it is clear that we have to move faster and more purposefully, be guided by specific outcomes, be more visible, and that we have the opportunity to better influence equity in our industry.
A few specific elements that are important to understand about the road ahead:
We stand with you. And together we will move forward with you—toward a more just, equitable society, industry, and school.
Tim Ryan ’77