Doing the hard work of ending systemic racism together

June 10, 2020

We are seeing throughout the country, and indeed throughout the world, what I am calling "righteous unrest." This is a deeply unsettling and stressful time, particularly for people of color. It is also a time where community leaders can choose to boldly answer the call to lead, and get to the hard work of ending systemic racism and police brutality. Through Leadership Greater Washington (LGW), we have long been coming together to stand against systemic racism, through many programs and forums, but yet again we see the devastation of racism surface in horrifying ways. We hope that this time will be different and that we can seize upon this momentum to advance the causes of racial justice and equity more so than ever.

We will continue to move forward with greater purpose and resolve in our commitment to go to the depths that we need to go to fix this. We are using our platform to take action, advance thought leadership, and amplify the voices of leaders who are addressing the dual epidemics we face; systemic racism and the ongoing toll of Covid-19. Over the last week, we have held public conversations with visionary leaders like Howard-John Wesley (’15), senior pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church, and David Bowers (’09) of Enterprise Community Partners. These conversations brought direct observations from leaders at the fore of advancing these issues to hundreds of participants – and this week, we continue to convene leaders of all walks of life for dialogue to help create lasting, meaningful change. As Rev. Al Sharpton said, African-Americans are calling for white people to ‘get your knees off our necks.”

White Americans must acknowledge the problems, and decide that we will no longer tolerate the sickness of racism in government, in our businesses, or our organizations. LGW is committed to advancing collective action, listening, speaking up, and creating a structured space where voices can be heard, consensus can be built and solutions can emerge. The future of our region and the well-being of our community depends upon the actions of leaders at this moment and in the years and decades ahead.

Doug Duncan ('15), President and CEO, LGW

Doing the hard work of ending systemic racism together