In the wake of the senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and a continued pattern of violence toward African-Americans, WWF cannot stay silent. We are compelled to speak out to condemn the trauma and injustice that the Black community has borne for so long.
WWF works across 100 countries to build a future in which people and nature both flourish. Our diversity is our strength. We are devoted to the diversity of our staff and our partners, and to the diversity of life on Earth. And we are committed to upholding the rights of all people around the world.
We know that an environmental organization like WWF cannot by itself reverse America’s painful history of racial injustice. But we also know we have an important role to play in working with other institutions on a journey toward racial equality that is long overdue, and we stand allied with the African-American community in addressing these wrongs.
It could not be a more challenging time, with a raging pandemic, a faltering economy, and deepening divisions around the world. But it is more than clear that these forces, as well as the degradation of nature, disproportionately affect the African-American community and other communities of color. That needs to change, as do the deeply rooted economic, political, and social systems that perpetuate these patterns of racial injustice.
To that end, I am personally committed to doing more than I have in the past. To listen, to learn, and to act. And I commit our larger organization to do the same, building on the energy and the stories from an all-staff meeting we held yesterday, which deeply moved me and informed this note. The overwhelming conviction of our people serves as the basis of this commitment: to use our voice, our partnerships, and our influence to press for diversity and equality, be it economic, social or environmental, as the foundations of our work.
Just as we are united by the natural world we all need to survive, so are we united by our common humanity. Any injustice that affects part of our community affects us all.
Black lives matter. Black voices matter. True change begins with listening to the voices of those most affected and then acting on that basis to build bridges that secure a more equitable future for all.
President and CEO, WWF-US