As a community and a nation, we are living with heartbreak and sorrow over the continued killing of Black people in America at the hands of racist, violent policing. We grieve the loss of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arberry, and so many others. We unequivocally affirm that Black Lives Matter, and stand in solidarity with everyone fighting to end racism, secure justice, and live a life of dignity.

Leading with dignity is the central mission of the Barger Leadership Institute. Dignity is a constellation of processes by which we embody, recognize, intervene, preserve, and cherish the very core of what makes us human. When such processes are trampled and systemically violated to dehumanize Black Americans, what is left is a country, built by the sweat and sufferings of slaves and immigrants, bereft of its soul. Finding the moral courage to act in solidarity with our Black American community is vital to the recalibration of our moral compass. We call for a courageous commitment to dignity to deal with the current crisis. We call for intentional deep listening, critical reflection, and compassion.

As leaders, we will reach out to friends, family, and people of color and support their efforts to transform the structures that repeatedly violate their dignity. We commit to ongoing teaching and learning so that we as a community can continue to be actively antiracist. Taking actions that demonstrate solidarity is a crucial step to rediscovering and mending the soul of our communities.

A version of the statement above was sent by email to all Barger Leadership Institute members and fellows on June 3, 2020.