Statement to the PiLA Community on Confronting Racism
At its heart, PiLA is a social justice organization, committed to our vision of building in our fellows "the skills, character, and compassion necessary to serve as tomorrow's global leaders," and our mission, to match those fellows with "partner organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean that are engaged in socially responsible enterprises and activities." Although our day-to-day work is focused on that region, which has its own unique struggles with racism, we stand in solidarity with the protests happening across the United States and the world. We recognize that our commitment to social justice and equality will not allow us to be silent at a time like this.
PiLA’s vision and mission have always been founded in hope – the idea that through service, our fellows will develop a sense of fairness in personal and institutional relationships. But it has taken the senseless killing of George Floyd to make us reflect that we must redouble our efforts, and redouble them again. (And one might ask, shouldn’t the murder of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddy Grey, Breonna Taylor and so many others have been enough to wake us all up?)
Over the organization’s seventeen years, we have provided opportunities that have helped contribute to the formation of nearly 400 young men and women who we trust will carry with them for the rest of their lives a commitment to fight racism in all its forms, be it in the bateys of the northwestern countryside of the Dominican Republic or the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, in the villages of indigenous communities in rural Guatemala or the streets of the United States of America. As we take stock of our efforts in the sharp relief of the systemic racism so clearly in focus today, we must be ever more intentional in our efforts to do whatever is in our power to combat inequity. We must support all communities with whom we live and work so that they can participate safely, authentically and fully in society.
So we welcome your thoughts and ideas as we work together to have a more meaningful impact in fighting the injustices around us. Let us raise our voices together and act!
Chairman of the Board