Our Renewed Commitment to Racial Justice and Opportunity
Thursday, June 18, 2020
WDI’s Founder, William Davidson, once said: “We are the coworkers for the cause of economic and social freedom.” The killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are just a few examples of atrocities targeting black people in this country, and of a system that denies much of that economic and social freedom to people of color. These atrocities and the resulting fear that people of color experience in everyday life command us to do more. It is not enough for us, either individually or as an Institute, to say we don’t tolerate discrimination, rather we must actively work in our sphere of influence to eliminate discrimination and fear, and replace it with opportunity. This approach is very much in line with our mission. While WDI was established to create opportunities in low- and middle-income countries—how we conduct ourselves and the work itself also impacts people in the United States. As individuals in an Institute of higher education, we also have a duty to listen and be willing to question our long-held assumptions. We commit to more dialog with students, faculty and partners to ensure we fully hear the voices of those facing racial discrimination and oppression, so that we can act to advance justice and opportunity.
It is natural to feel grief and anger in the face of the brutality that has sparked worldwide protests. It is natural for those who believe in the cause of economic and social freedom for all to be discouraged in light of events that so grossly mock our cause. But these events must renew our determination to be the change that we hope for. We know full well this will be a long process, and we know we will make mistakes along the way, but we recommit to the cause and to the work.
—WDI President Paul Clyde