First and foremost, we repudiate and denounce the intractable racism that has led to the recent senseless deaths of Black people in this country – George Floyd, Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery, to name only a few.
Although our brief is broad in addressing issues that can improve the human experience, today we must focus on the consequences of centuries of systemic racism within our culture and are called to remember that there is more work to do.
To be clear, we are reacting to the manifestations of a long festering cancer – first seen on these shores in 1619 as the enslavement of people from the Kingdom of Ndongo.
In the not so distant past this racial animus metastasized into redlining, voter suppression, state sanctioned brutality, and myriad overt and covert attempts to perpetuate the subjugation of Black people. These are anathema to Fellows who have been drawn to the RSA through a respect for and commitment to universal human ingenuity reinforced by hope, optimism and a determination to see real justice.
We support Black Lives Matter, for there is such patent evidence that black people have not been respected and honored in our society and institutions—much of which becomes more evident in the face of a pandemic and economic collapse.
As a convening authority, here is how we can respond:
We are seeking to grow a more diverse Fellowship here in the U.S. This diversity drives our ability to create meaningful impact and worthwhile debate.
Our programs tend toward overturning systemic racial inequalities. Our work advocating for Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes have their origins in the ideas of Martin Luther King Jr. who first endorsed UBI as a way of ending poverty and economic oppression for all Americans. Our work on inclusive growth has put racial equity and economic justice at the forefront of our engagement with U.S. cities.
We urge our Fellows to use our collective privilege to re-shape the systems and structures of our country to promote non-racist principles of safety and justice to ensure that all are protected from gross inequities in life, liberty, and wellbeing.
We encourage you to articulate your views to local and national government leaders, directly and through local media op-ed pages, as individual constituents in your communities—consistently and persistently on issues of racial and ethnic injustice. Do not hesitate to identify yourself as FRSA, a Fellow of the RSA.
We encourage all Fellows to initiate programs that result in discussion of the issues facing the nation and conceiving solutions. Any Fellow is welcome to propose virtual salons on critical topics. RSA US leadership, ambassadors, and staff will support you. The RSA, as a trusted convener, has a role in helping our community and our society interrogate the persistent and deeply disturbing issues related to race, racism and police violence in America.
We must continue to protect what is so valuable to ourselves and society.
These sentiments can be directed at so many issues within our country, but today we are focused on affirming that Black Lives Matter.
- Ric Grefé FRSA, Chairman, RSA US
- Alexa Clay, Director, RSA US
- Robert Diggs, Partnership & Community Lead, RSA US
- Emily Chiappinelli, Experience Designer, RSA US
response from the RSA
The RSA, our global team and our affiliate RSA Oceania wholeheartedly support this statement from the RSA US and are committed to confronting racial inequality and injustice wherever it resides and will make use of our platforms, convening power, research, design, policy and innovation work to further that end.
We recognize that the events in the United States are not unique to Americans, but the movement for black lives is a global movement that calls us to dismantle structural racism and prejudice on our own soil.
We will continue to work to put equity considerations at the forefront of our strategy and programs, Fellowship experience, and organisational practice to ensure that diversity and inclusion are deeply embedded in all aspects of our operations and that we regularly report on our progress.
- Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA
- Tim Eyles, Chairman, RSA
- Anthony Painter, Chief Research & Impact Officer
- Natalie Carsey, Chief Operating Officer
- Mark Strachan, Chair, RSA Oceania
- Philipa Duthie, Director, RSA Oceania