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Statement on Violence Against Black Americans By Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation

Monday, June 1, 2020

I am heartbroken and angered by the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and Breonna Taylor. These acts of violence are despicable. Yet again, innocent men and women lost their lives because of the color of their skin. Not enough can ever be said of the unique pain, suffering, and injustice that African Americans have experienced and continue to experience in this country. Not enough has ever been done to heal the wounds of racism and bigotry. We must all join together to say, “Enough.” It is time all of us do what is required to end the systemic racism that divides us.

It is even more painful that these murders occurred during a pandemic that is disproportionately threatening the livelihoods and lives of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and other minority communities. Tens of millions have lost their jobs, and hundreds of thousands have lost family, friends, and loved ones. Their despair is real and understandable.

The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to have stood for and fought for racial justice for decades, and we’re proud of our team members, grantees, and partners that are on the front lines of this fight. We will stand with our teammates as they uphold the values of dignity and justice for all. We will stand with our grantees and partners as we continue to build a diverse and equitable society. And we will continue to advocate for the structural changes required to ensure every American feels safe in the present and hopeful about their children’s future.

We believe firmly that moving our society forward and treating each other with respect is a responsibility we all share. We must demand better because Ahmaud, George, Tony, Sean, and Breonna certainly deserved better. And that’s why, even as we at The Rockefeller Foundation mourn with their families and loved ones, we recommit to fighting racism and bigotry in all its forms – and we will embrace this task for as long as it takes to build a nation that reflects its best ideals.