In solidarity: Black Lives Matter

This is a significant moment in time.  It must be a catalyst for change that is long overdue and will come only with sustained commitment and action. It will require of us a willingness to look in the mirror and question our own perceptions and our practices and to speak out for equality and justice and stand up against racism and injustice. The shocking deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among many, are a stark reminder of the daily reality that Black people face at the hands of individuals and institutions charged with their protection and safety.  The death of Chantel Moore last week here in Canada, highlights how Indigenous people, in a different context, are also at terrifying risk. Racism and discrimination exists everywhere.

Over one hundred years ago, our founder, Eglantyne Jebb, protested in Trafalgar Square, was arrested, put on trial, found guilty, and fined for her protest, all to challenge an oppressive system that was starving millions of children due to their nationality.  Our founder, steadfast in her fundamental belief in all children having equal rights, put pen to paper in what ultimately inspired the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a landmark human rights treaty.

We strongly reject discrimination, hate, racism, oppression and all forms of violence. Every day we work towards a world in which every child, their family and community – regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic background – attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.

Our activist beginning, with human rights at our core, calls on us, in this moment, to firmly commit to:

  1. Standing up and speaking out fiercely as a rights based agency in solidarity with Black people and all people of colour who suffer systemic and ongoing discrimination, racism and oppression
  2. Creating space to reflect on our experience, actions, beliefs and unconscious bias as individuals
  3. Undertake analysis of the systemic biases that we, as an institution, may perpetuate
  4. Transform as an organization to ensure a power shift begins in our ways of working to empower rights holders, duty bearers and responsibility holders.

This starts with the understanding that structural racism is a pernicious threat to human rights and children’s rights and that stamping out racism is fundamental to our mission for justice and equality. We will never achieve the society we strive to be, where children are safe and secure, until everybody recognizes Black Lives Matter.

By Bill Chambers, President and CEO, Save the Children