The horrific murder of George Floyd – and too many other victims – brought crowds of activists onto the streets this week as demands to end white supremacy and systemic violence gains momentum. Basic human rights remain elusive in so many parts of the world today and this tragedy has brought to the fore the inequity, insecurity and oppression that marginalized communities face everywhere, including in the countries where Accountability Lab is trying to make a difference. Ongoing racial and political injustices drive much of our work to improve governance systems around the globe. But we’ve also reflected on other concrete ways in which we can contribute to the intersectional fight for justice.
We will do three things this year:
- Grant up to 3 paid days off in the next 6 months for any Accountability Lab employees in any country who want to protest against these issues, advocate in their communities or get-out-the-vote in national or local elections for candidates who stand for racial justice and equality;
- While the organization does not have the resources to do so directly, the Founder will match donations by employees to organizations that are pushing for racial justice around the world, up to $1,000 (here, here, here, and here are some of those);
- Organize a series of conversations across our teams about racial justice, racism and inclusion in the workplace to inform how we are thinking and acting around these issues.
We’re also expressing a renewed commitment to accelerate norm shifts and new narratives that push back against racism and injustice. This includes shining lights on people and places where survivors’ voices are seldom heard. Through our Civic Action Teams, we’re working with communities exploited through labor migration in Nepal and affected by the extractives industry in Liberia and Nigeria. We’ve surfaced critical challenges that leave communities more vulnerable to violent extremism in Mali and Niger, and our team in Pakistan is highlighting entrenched discrimination and violence against women and the transgender community through a women’s film fellowship. In Mexico, our new Oxigeno 2030 campaign focuses on providing sim cards and data to frontline COVID-19 workers, with a particular focus on minority groups.
We believe that people in authority should always be accountable for their actions. At a time when abhorrent events highlight a lack of trust and accountability between governments and the communities they’ve sworn to serve and protect, we’re more committed than ever to continue supporting and building coalitions of activist citizens who are doing the right thing – like Captain Vinny in South Africa, Asst Commissioner Ford in Liberia and all the incredible nominees for our first Integrity Icon Philly campaign this year. Our hope is that equipping reformers like these will, in part, lead to the systemic change our world so desperately needs.
We are bound to make mistakes along the way. We recognize our own shortcomings, and strive to learn and improve wherever we can. We will continue to build teams and boards that are representative of the communities in which we work and hold ourselves accountable to our values – and we are always open to feedback that helps us get better.
Beyond this, we invite others in the development community to work with us as we reflect on the challenges and complicity of our sector in these problems and the ways we might create solutions that help build the world we envision.
We cannot stay silent. Let the sacrifices and courage of the people who are putting their bodies on the line to advocate for equality be a call to action that drives us all to do more as organizations, and as individuals.