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On Ending Structural Racism and Committing to Racial Equity

  ·   By Andy Van Kleunen,
On Ending Structural Racism and Committing to Racial Equity

This has been a hard week.

At NSC we are feeling sad, angry, and sick at the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and countless others before them. These killings lay bare – again and again – our country’s history of structural racism and state violence against Black people and communities of color. It’s also not a coincidence that Black and Latino communities have disproportionately suffered the negative impacts of COVID-19 – not only are Black and Latino families getting sick and dying at disproportionately high rates in this pandemic, people of color are also more likely to have been laid off during this economic shutdown, much like in previous economic downturns. This is all part and parcel of that shameful legacy of structural racism.

Putting an end to a system that continually claims the lives and livelihoods of Black people and people of color requires changes to policing and criminal justice. But it also requires meaningful, intentional changes to the web of public policies and organizational practices that work together to perpetuate racial inequality. This includes voting policy, health policy, education policy, trade policy, environmental policy, and for NSC, skills policy. It requires change at the federal, state, local and organizational level.

We are committed to advancing racially equitable workforce policies so that people of color can access good jobs and thrive in the workforce. But correcting racial inequities in skills policy is just one small part of the solution. We know that equitable workforce policies alone won’t create a better and fairer future for people of color, but we commit to sharing the work and responsibility of advancing racial justice with our allies.

We have a lot of work to do on racial equity and inclusion - both in our efforts working toward systemic change through public policy and advocacy, and working toward systemic change through the practices of our own organization - and we are still learning how to do that right. We are committed to listening to BIPOC advocates and partners as we continue to build out a coalition committed to investing in people. And we won’t stop fighting to advance racial equity in America’s workforce.

I am so grateful to you, our partners, for the work you are doing in your communities every day to build an inclusive workforce.

Andy

Image via Black Lives Matter