Standing in Solidarity with Black Communities
We at J-PAL North America grieve and condemn the ongoing displays of police violence and systemic racism in the United States and acknowledge the physical and emotional distress they cause. This grief and trauma is especially deep for Black communities, and for our staff, partners, and affiliated researchers who belong to them. Recent events—from the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black individuals by the state, to the deployment of race as a tool of intimidation by Amy Cooper in Central Park—are manifestations of the same anti-Black, racist social structures that have led to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting communities of color.
Through our work, we seek to contribute to the systems-level change that the present moment demands. Dismantling systemic racism is critical to ending poverty and reducing inequality. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the many organizations fighting for transformative change. We are inspired by MIT Associate Dean DiOnetta Jones Crayton’s recent call to action: “We need those called to serve and change systems from within. And we also need those who shake the walls, the ceilings, and the very foundations of oppressive policies and systems from without.”
As a research center within the field of economics, we intend to do our part to continue the work of self examination, change, and movement building to combat the decades of institutionalized racism with which our field is only now beginning to come to terms. Where we can, we will use our research and expertise to identify and amplify evidence-informed policies that can help in the fight against racism and other powerful institutions. Finally, while we are encouraged by the widespread calls for action today, the commitment to ending systemic racism must continue far beyond this current moment. In this way, we hope to honor David McAtee, Tony McDade, George Floyd, Steven Taylor, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many others who should still be alive.
– J-PAL North America