Statement on structural racism and economic inequality in the United States
Following is a statement from Heather Boushey, president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth
At Equitable Growth, we stand with our Black colleagues and Black families across the country who every day shoulder the legacy of White supremacy and systemic violence older than the United States itself. We condemn the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and Ahmaud Arbery and so many, many more Black men, women, and children who have died from police violence, unchecked White civilian power, and structural racism over more than 400 years. Each and every one of their lives matters, and we bear witness to their senseless loss of life.
For too long, the field of economics, dominated by White gatekeepers, has failed to fully acknowledge the work of Black scholars and ignored the intersection of race and power in research agendas or treated race as a sideshow—something ancillary to the core work. Many in the profession justify this by saying that studying this important work is narrowly in the purview of the too-few Black economists in the academy, government, or other elite institutions. That must change.
At Equitable Growth, we commit to doing our part. We commit to using our power as an economic research and grantmaking organization to fund more research based on the lived experience and legacy of structural racism, support more Black scholars seeking answers to these often overlooked experiences, elevate those ideas for the policymaking community, and ensure the voices and experiences of Black economists, policymakers, and staff members are reflected in all of the work we do. We commit to creating a publicly accessible resource by the end of 2020 that will publish and track over time the demographic characteristics of our grantees, leadership, and staff as one way to hold ourselves accountable.
Key to understanding a pathway forward is serious dialogue and examination about wealth and power. The wealth of this nation is perfused with the legacy of slavery. Our nation’s wealth continues to be disproportionately owned by Whites and that economic power translates into social and political power. We need reparations policies enacted to at long last address the original sin on which our nation was founded—a sin that continues to benefit White Americans and exploit Black Americans to this very day.
Every organization, including Equitable Growth, needs to commit to acknowledging and addressing the role that systemic racism and White supremacy play in U.S. politics, the economy, and our very own institutions. My intention is to hold ourselves accountable to creating public benchmarks relevant to our own organizational mission with the goal of pushing government, institutions, and policymakers to reflect the priorities of the Movement for Black Lives and a world where all decisions reflect the unequivocal truth that Black Lives Matter.