Black Lives Matter
June 24, 2020
The Center for Positive Organizations Commitment to Action
We are heartbroken and angry over the senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, among too many others. And we know the effects of systemic racism do not start and end with the criminal justice system. In Michigan, they impact many of our most important institutions such as health and education systems. Black Americans here have died of COVID-19 at a rate four times as high as white Americans, and the number of African-American children living in high poverty areas is one of the highest in the country.
The Center for Positive Organizations (CPO) at the University of Michigan stands united with other organizations around the world who call for fundamental transformation that eradicates systemic, institutional racism, discrimination, brutality, poverty, and violence.
We recognize that such transformation must lift up people of color, especially Black people in the U.S. who have been dehumanized by systems of anti-Blackness, slavery, hatred, and injustice. In so doing, we uphold and work toward creating the reality of social conditions in which all people have the opportunity to thrive together by engaging in organizations and communities characterized by love, compassion, unity, generosity, and integrity.
The research, scholarly practice, and teaching of CPO focus on building, sustaining, and growing organizations, systems, and communities in which cultures of respect, dignity, and belonging are coupled with practices of inclusion, equity, and justice. We ally ourselves with others around the world who are working to advance racial justice and challenge existing systems. The struggle for Black voices to be heard must be met with our increased dedication to listen, learn, and mobilize for action. To help realize such a world, CPO commits to the following actions, which will continue to evolve over time for sustained accountability and commitment.
Research, Teaching, and Learning
- Shine a spotlight on our community members whose work is especially potent at this moment in time.
- Intentionally elevate the voices of scholars of color, whose contributions to our scholarship are essential.
- Foster and advance research focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
- Support and help to resource POISED (Positive Organizational Inclusion Scholarship for Equity and Diversity), a new microcommunity that investigates diversity, equity, and inclusion through the lens of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS).
- Integrate DEI research more purposefully into our research, teaching, and learning events, including the June 2021 POS Research Conference, which will have dedicated DEI research tracks and main stage sessions.
Diversity and Inclusion in Our Community
- Present several DEI-focused events to our community every calendar year.
- Increase the engagement of Black community members in the development/presentation of events and programs.
- Diversify representation in the Positive Organizations Consortium.
Personal and Professional Development
- 100% of CPO staff members will participate in DEI training on an annual basis (e.g., anti-racism, bystander intervention).
- Regular and ongoing staff- and faculty-focused conversations to learn and grow our understanding of identity, race, justice, and the experience of marginalized communities.
- Organize on a regular basis to strategize, generate, and take actions to confront systemic racism in our immediate communities.
- Challenge established networks of influence and privilege to disrupt patterns of racism and fight for justice by speaking up.
Principles and Practices that will Inform Our Work and Our Interactions
- Recognize personal and communal integrity and validate people and ideas with respectful engagement.
- Recognize the inherent value, worth, and dignity of all people and invite them to join in our work and community.
- Create a welcoming environment for all who enter our community.
- Listen, learn, and unlearn by perspective-taking that is grounded in empathy and compassion.
- Make space for ambiguity and complexity without the need to oversimplify answers to difficult questions.
- Acknowledge our limitations, failures, and lack of knowledge in ways that invite further inquiry and expand our understanding.
- Engage one another with trust that all are capable and strive to do and be at their best.
- Invite one another to be together in active community building and a dynamic, ongoing dialogue.
- Acknowledge pain, conflict, and failure in order to hold difficult conversations that offer the possibility of reconciliation and healing.