The U.S. Institute of Peace stands in solidarity with those demanding justice for the killing of Black people by police and calling for an end to systemic racism. We know that allowing injustice to prevail at home undermines our work abroad. We commit to confronting racism within our own organization and work.

USIP was created as a “living institution embodying the heritage, ideals, and concerns of the American people for peace.” In this founding spirit, we stand in solidarity with those demanding justice following the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of police. The recent killings of Mr. Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others are painful reminders that America is still not at peace with itself. The reverberating cries of peaceful protesters chanting “No justice, no peace” echo what the U.S. Institute of Peace has learned in three and a half decades of building peace around the world: For peace to thrive, it must be built on the foundation of justice.

In our work in conflict-affected regions globally, we see how abuse by police and other security forces can exacerbate existing grievances and create new ones. We know that trust between citizens and security plays an invaluable role in any peaceful society. Above all, we know that systemic injustice, broken social contracts and long-festering wounds of discrimination can tear apart families, communities and societies. While we champion human rights overseas, the human rights of Black communities in America are often violated and ignored. Systemic racism not only threatens peace and stability within the United States, it undermines our credibility to work for peace and justice beyond our shores.

This is a pivotal time for our nation to put into practice at home what it champions abroad and confront the deep-seated structural racism and systemic violence that has plagued this country for four centuries. USIP is focused internationally, but we commit to exploring additional ways in which our own peacebuilding experience might be a resource to the American people.

This moment also calls us to look inward. USIP recognizes that we can and must do more to heal persistent inequities, as individuals and as an institution.

The U.S. Institute of Peace commits to confronting racism within our own organization and in pursuit of our mission. We will increase diversity, equity and inclusion within our own policies and practices to build a team that more fully reflects and respects the diversity of our nation and the countries where we work. We will hold ourselves accountable for treating all people with dignity, respect, equality and empathy in accordance with our values. We will work together to identify a plan of action that enables us to address racism and discrimination and ensure we transparently chart our progress. By doing better in our own organization, we can do better work abroad.

We know that words matter, but actions matter more. This statement of commitment is the first step on a long, important road ahead to a more equitable, just and peaceful future.

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