As a member of the board of the ISCT, I am glad to share a statement the Institute just released with reference to the recent episodes in the States and the murder of Mr George Floyd.
It is not a habit for an organization such as the Institute – a think-tank focused on promoting a transformative approach to conflict – to take position on specific social issues, especially if they clearly have general political implications. Yet in this case, a reflection on how a conflict discourse may be intoxicated by unacceptable racial prejudices and biases seems highly opportune.
Finally, all this seems just an ‘American’ problem. We, in Europe, may not have the same sensibility – for a lot of understandable reasons (of course, our history is full of horrors, but in many parts of this old continent people have never seen the KKK in action, and the memories of dictators madness are covered with dust). Actually, this is a ‘world’ problem, and nobody can turn his head, and keep going as if nothing had happened.
“Members of the Board and Fellows of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation add our voices to those expressing sadness and grief over the Black lives that have recently been lost, as well as anger and impatience with the systemic racism in the U.S.
The death of George Floyd is one in a long series of unjust killings of Black people. We join with the many who have reacted to his murder and the racism it lays bare to express our support for fundamental change and an end to all forms of racism, white supremacist ideology and the various forms of structural oppression.
Bringing about change requires that individuals and organizations focus upon the role their privilege plays in oppression and how their action might catalyze social change.
We are committed to doing the work it takes to become aware of our own biases and the roles we play in systems of injustice. We are committed to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in our own organization. The path forward is complex and will take many forms. We recognize the need for humility and courage, and we will support those who have long been leading the way.
Creating change requires a willingness to engage in difficult but necessary conversations and we affirm our belief in people’s capacity and desire for constructive human interaction. Through our commitment to transformative practice, we will continue working to empower people to grow in strength, dignity, and connection, to find and use their voices, to hear and recognize the humanity of others, and to work together to build just communities and a just world.”