On May 29, Welcoming America released a statement on the recent events involving the killing of Black Americans and police brutality. As a program of Welcoming America leading a global coalition of welcoming and inclusive initiatives, Welcoming International shares the same commitment to tackling racism and exclusion in communities worldwide.
The work of Welcoming International, Welcoming America, and our members all over the world is about ensuring communities are welcoming to all their residents. At this moment, it is more urgent than ever to reaffirm that welcoming cannot thrive so long as racism persists. Welcoming is much more than tolerance—it is addressing the root causes of racism, exclusion, and othering, as well as recognizing the ways in which these forces impact all residents in communities.
Following the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and sadly many other Black community members in the United States, people across the country have risen up to protest police brutality and systemic racism at every level. Internationally, people on every inhabited continent have stood up to express solidarity and to demand justice for Black communities and other minorities in their societies, many of whom often also live under fear, oppression, and injustice. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has shaken all of our communities to their core, has further exacerbated existing inequalities across communities of color.
Welcoming International recognizes that communities cannot become truly welcoming until all members are treated justly. Our role, in part, is to build solidarity between our movement and parallel movements to advance the rights and inclusion of Black communities and other marginalized groups worldwide. To do this, we commit to:
- Hosting virtual dialogues with our members across the world to discuss structural racism and anti-racism work.
- Addressing race and racism more explicitly through our welcoming initiatives.
- Encouraging government officials at all levels, including the mayors and municipalities with whom we work closely, to address structural racism and abuse within all institutions under their jurisdiction.
- Providing our members with guidance and a community of practice to tackle these issues and explore internally how they can better advance the representation of people of color within their local and national efforts.
- Lifting up positive narratives that represent the diversity of welcoming communities.
We stand in solidarity with the protests against the murders of Black community members and with desires to reform systems that oppress and unjustly treat communities of color. We also commit to using our platform to help communities advance this work at the local level. We recognize that we cannot, and should not, speak for an entire movement, but we believe Welcoming International has a role in helping advance this conversation as we work to create more welcoming communities around the world.