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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Reflecting on the Academy’s commitment to the Movement for Black Lives

We remain outraged and pained by the heinous murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people in the United States, killed by police brutality and racial injustice. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families and communities directly and deeply impacted by these travesties of justice. We stand with the many communities, organizations, and activists leading the fight for racial equity and justice.

The Academy’s overarching mission is to increase understanding of how social insurance contributes to health and economic security for everyone. However, we have not adequately addressed the underlying legacy of slavery and systemic racism that drive disparities in access to, and impacts of, social insurance programs for people of color, especially Black people in the United States. Since the founding of the Academy over thirty years ago, we have been cognizant of the need to increase diversity. Unfortunately, the strategies we have implemented thus far have not been enough.

With this in mind, CEO William Arnone and Board Chair William Rodgers began our work with a statement pledging to:

  • Expand our commitment to promoting justice in our work.
  • Translate our policy work in ways that will enable grassroots organizations and advocates to take action based on our findings.
  • Elevate the voices and lived experiences of the individuals and communities impacted by racial and economic injustices in our work.
  • Reevaluate our current internal policies and prioritize attaining greater inclusion and engagement among the Academy’s Membership, staff, and interns.
  • Work collaboratively to reduce the gap between the resources of non-profit organizations led by executives of color and those with White leaders.

As an organization, we are starting with looking at exactly what steps and resources will be required to increase the inclusion of people of color – in our leadership, membership, and staff, and across our policy research, leadership development programs, and all other activities.

In the face of deeply-entrenched racial inequality in this country, the continual addressing of inequity within our organizational practices and the incorporation of an anti-racist, justice-focused framework into all that we do is essential to dismantling the systemic racism that permeates our society.

Through discussions among our staff, leadership, and Members, we are creating a detailed plan of action to actively work towards these goals and promote racial equity. We thank you for your support as we commit with urgency to an Academy made stronger by inclusion and a society more equitable for all.

Please don’t hesitate to send us your suggestions and questions.

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