We at the Rights and Resources Group (RRG) know that the events of the past weeks and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor by police officers are only a snapshot of the white supremacy that underlies widespread injustice against Black lives. These injustices include a long history of police brutality and discrimination in access to jobs, education, essential public services, and land and homeownership—all the result of the continued oppression of Black Americans whose ancestors were brought as slaves to the United States. We know that the racism that drove slavery was also used to justify the genocidal wars against the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and across the world. We know that this racism was institutionalized in colonial and post-colonial administrations and persists in today’s legal frameworks. And we also know that systemic white supremacy and racism remain widespread globally, manifested for example in the caste system across South Asia, violence between different ethnic groups in Africa, discrimination against Black and Indigenous populations in Latin America, and growing prejudice against Latinx, Hispanic, and Asian populations in the United States. This history shaped who are the “givers” and “receivers” of aid and development and continues to be reflected in the international architecture that dominates work in our field today.
Given centuries of oppression in both the domestic and global context, we would like to offer a statement of solidarity that Black Lives Matter. Not only do they matter, but they are cherished, equally important, and long past deserving of immediate justice. We believe that our mission, to advance government recognition of the collective land rights and self-determined development of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants, is central to abolishing racial discrimination in our world. It is an honor for our staff to partner with organizations demanding justice and equity in their respective countries and in the global development architecture.
At the same time, we recognize that white supremacy and systemic racism are not only external forces but are pervasively internalized in our societies and ourselves. As an organization and individuals, we commit to constantly examine our biases, our communications, our structures, and our relationships with each other to dismantle all forms of oppression. In addition, we commit to ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all RRG staff members, and to encourage further conversations and self-reflection on this topic. These are only first steps. We will rely on each other and external perspectives to stay accountable, develop additional remedial measures, and follow-through to dismantle white supremacy and racial discrimination in our personal and professional spaces. Above all, we express a commitment to learning and growing, expecting mistakes and hoping for grace as we continue this journey. Thank you for your support.
Rights and Resources Group