We’re seeing widespread protests against institutionalised racism and violence in the US and all around the world. DRIFT expresses solidarity with these anti-racism protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement, and their struggle towards a more just society. The movement is calling out long histories of oppression, discrimination, exclusion and violence that are deeply rooted and embedded in our collective behaviour and institutions.
To us, these protests are part of broader processes of deep transformative change. The current global health, economic, and climate crises exacerbate existing inequalities and injustices within different systems such as healthcare, education, energy and housing. The current wave of social justice activism confronts racism and other forms of exclusion and inequality, and has the potential to destabilise and disrupt systemic orders. These systemic disruptions inevitably come with resistance, tensions, conflict and social unrest — without them we can never achieve transformative change towards more just and sustainable futures. Supporting and engaging in such a transformative change to us is an ethical and intellectual obligation.
At DRIFT, we aspire to address injustices in our work on sustainability transitions and seek to be open and inclusive in our pursuit of understanding and fostering societal changes. We acknowledge that while addressing exclusion, marginalization and inequalities, we have not yet explicitly addressed racial injustice. We also acknowledge that both we ourselves and our audiences often lack diversity in terms of education, income, political preference, culture and ethnicity. We recognise that we need to examine and address these issues and act on any blind spots that we might uncover.
By making this public statement we commit ourselves to giving more explicit attention to the issues of racism and related forms of exclusion and injustices, within the content of our research, in the processes that we facilitate, and within our own organisation and institutional context. This is why we commit to more action from our organisation in the following four ways:
- We commit to using our institutional position and the privileges that come with it to support efforts to fight institutionalised racism and other forms of injustice.
- We commit to making racial injustices and other systemic exclusions and intersections of oppression part and parcel of our work on sustainability transitions.
- We commit to actively learn from, engage and collaborate with individuals and organisations that have expertise in fighting institutional racism, engage in dialogues, and amplify their voices.
- We commit to creating time and space within our organisation to talk about racism and to explore any blind spots that may exist in the analyses, networks, settings and processes that we develop and facilitate.
This statement is a result of internal discussions at DRIFT that have been set in motion as a response to the current protests, and builds on ongoing conversations within our organisation. We wrote this statement as a collaboration so it is widely supported by many of our colleagues. We acknowledge that these commitments are a first step. A group of dedicated DRIFTers will take the lead in continuing the internal discussions with the aim to foster dialogue and translate these commitments into more tangible actions in the coming days, weeks and months.
June 19, 2020