The following is a statement of intent signed by me and many of my ADR colleagues. As "neutrals", we are declaring that we are not neutral on racism and declare ourselves as not impartial about this issue - not in our private lives, not in our work. The Statement isn't perfect, but it is a start with dialog and active engagement ongoing:
"We are conflict engagement practitioners – mediators, conflict coaches, negotiators, facilitators, convenors, dialogue coaches and more. We assist individuals, organizations and communities to engage with and deal more effectively with conflict.
Our collective experience has taught us that where injustice is embedded in the system that is experiencing the conflict, we cannot help bring about a more peaceful environment without addressing the injustice.
We stand with our brothers and sisters suffering the injustice and pain of racism, whether it was malicious or unintentionally caused. We stand with all people of color who live in a world made dangerous by racism. Black Lives Matter!
We call for an unprecedented effort to address inequity in our systems of governance, economy, housing, employment, healthcare… We also recognize that without disruption, systems of oppression will not change. No Justice No Peace!
We fervently hope for peace on our streets, but peace, real peace, meaningful peace, just peace, will only come when the systems of oppression that perpetuate the lethal injustice that killed George Floyd, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor and so many others are ended. We support those who disrupt the systems of injustice and we recognize that strategic disruption is necessary to achieve genuine change.
We will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for justice so that we can then all proudly hold the banner of More Justice, More Peace!"
Sunny E. Sassaman Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Consultant