Dear JCI USA Members, Senators, Family, and Friends,
We have experienced a wide array of emotions as we have watched the death of George Floyd and countless others, along with endless scenes of civil unrest over the past couple weeks. I’ve heard from many of you about how these events have personally impacted you and your families. This message should have come sooner; I apologize to those who have felt our silence meant we didn’t care. We have been struggling with what to say, taking time to craft the perfect message before realizing there is no perfect message. Nothing can be said that will heal our communities from years of oppression and injustice. However, we will lift our voices to support those who need to be heard. It is time.
As an organization of young leaders, we believe that racism must be challenged at every opportunity. We acknowledge that in the United States, systemic racism is ongoing and oppressive. As an organization, we have not effectively used our voice or influence in the name of justice thus far, and we acknowledge our responsibility to actively be better. We treasure and love our members in the black, indigenous, and person of color (BIPOC) communities. We know they are hurting, and we believe black lives matter. Collectively, we stand together. We will defend, we will support, and we will advocate together to break down the systems of inequality that are rampant throughout the United States. We will not tolerate racism of any kind and will actively work to ensure the safety of BIPOC people is not a dream, but a reality. We are the future, and we stand with our members.
WE PLEDGE TO:
EDUCATE. We will provide training and development opportunities and space for open dialogue to educate everyone towards improving upon individual’s perspective, mindset, and actions surrounding racism.
VOTE. We will promote the act of voting and the importance of young people being engaged in the election process. This will include registration opportunities while encouraging everyone to educate themselves on candidates and issues to make informed decisions on election day.
ADVOCATE. We will establish an advocacy campaign to work with our elected officials regarding legislation and policies that will end systemic racism in the United States. We will elevate BIPOC voices and support young people in having their voices heard.
We cherish “that earth’s great treasure lies in human personality,” and understand the diverse knowledge, skills, and experiences of individuals within our communities is of extreme value to the progress of the collective. Caring about the life of another isn’t political: It’s human. Service to humanity is the best work of life.
If you are interested in engaging in one of our three areas of focus in our pledge to challenge racism, please email me at email@example.com. We are building Resource Groups surrounding Educate, Vote and Advocate.
Let’s get to work!
Justin Wutzke, 100th National President, JCI USA