With a heavy heart, I write to you to acknowledge the incidents occurring across our country today, and the racial violence that so many have suffered for so long. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ahmaud Arbery in South Georgia, and Breonna Taylor, in Louisville are only the most recent deaths that illuminate a much larger and sobering picture of what happens in this country that we call home.
As a white person, I have had the great privilege to travel our country and the world without being afraid that the color of my skin makes me a target for violence. As a mother, I do not worry that my tall sons will provoke fear simply by their presence or experience discrimination and violence because of their race, with no regard to who they are as people.
As an organization, we have roots in accessibility and the value of public education. We have committed to diversity and inclusion as an essential part of our value system, which is especially important because we are a mostly white organization in a mostly white field.
As members of the international education community, we deeply believe that a more compassionate and connected world ~across differences~ is not only possible, but imperative. We believe that our differences make us stronger, richer, more capable, and more interesting humans. Our future as a nation and as a people must be grounded in our shared humanity.
The pandemic has challenged our values of connection, cultural exchange, and dialogue across differences. We are now faced with an even greater challenge: standing together against the violence born of racism, bigotry and ignorance. Listening matters. Participation matters. Our deeply held values will be put to the test; but we remain boldly committed to a more just and equitable world. We are #strongertogether. #blacklivesmatter.
I have made a small donation to the Equal Justice Initiative on CIS Abroad’s behalf. I know that actions speak louder than words. If you have ideas about how we can connect together as partners during these times, please share your ideas with me.
Kris Holloway, President CIS Abroad