A letter of condemnation, support, and action from the Center for Responsible Business
The Berkeley Haas Center for Responsible Business supports the statements by Chancellor Carol Christ and Oscar Dubón, Jr., Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion, and we stand in partnership with our university community in our strong condemnation of the killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, David McAttee, Tony McDade, and the many other Black people who were murdered whose names we will never know. “Let us say their names, acknowledge their humanity, and commit to doing what we can to build a more just society.”
Businesses and educational systems have played a significant role in perpetuating the violence and disenfranchisement against Black Americans. As a center housed at a business school, we acknowledge our responsibility to be part of the much-needed change. Platitudinal words of support will not remove the systemic racism in our country. It is essential that businesses and places of education actively talk about, and address, these injustices. “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist’,” Ibram Kendi, “How to be an Anti-Racist”.
We recognize that we have often not been leaders in this space. In 2017, the CRB committed to embedding social inclusion into all of our programming, research, and curricula – we have not stood by that commitment. We have a Senior Advisory Board that is made up of over 90% white advisors. Only one out of the nine cases we’ve published in the last four years has featured a Black protagonist. These things need to change. As we propose lecturers and guest speakers, we MUST work harder to propose Black and diverse candidates for roles as lecturers and guest speakers on our campus.
We will work to listen and learn, as well as are actively reviewing all of our practices and committing our efforts to address these issues in our daily work.
We also recognize that the issues we focus on here at the CRB have direct impacts on communities of color – sustainable innovation, sustainable food, and human rights and business. Those facing the greatest impacts from climate change, and the consequences of poor environmental business practices, are disproportionately communities of color. Those who originally tilled and labored for our food systems were enslaved Black people, and our country continues to rely on unpaid and underpaid farm laborers to this day. The supply chains that produce our products, and the companies who sell them, maintain profits off the backs of people of color who source our fabrics and minerals, manufacture our clothing, and work minimum wage jobs to package, transport, and sell us our goods. At the CRB, we commit to directly acknowledging these truths, and working with students, faculty, and industry to shift these practices.
We are humble in our awareness that we do not know how to fix the systems that uplift a few, but hold back many. However, we are committed to listening, learning, and then taking action.
Below are some of the voices and resources that we have found impactful that we will utilize in these efforts. The first resource is the letter titled “Thoughts from your Black colleague” by our Berkeley-Haas colleague and friend, Marco Lindsey, Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The power of this moment and the call for action are so clearly and forcefully articulated by Marco in his closing that we also offer his words to you as we close.
“Get involved. I can’t dictate to you what that looks like, but it can be anything from writing an email to public officials, sharing a social media post, learning more about anti-Blackness, being an active ally at a rally, donating, or just sharing this message. But do something. Please don’t sit idly by while I am being murdered. Make no mistake about it. I am dying.”
Hold us accountable. Please reach out if you see additional ways we can do better.
The Center for Responsible Business
Seren Pendleton-Knoll – [email protected]
Emily Pelissier – [email protected]
Dara McKenzie – [email protected]
Robert Strand – [email protected]
- Thoughts from your Black colleague by Marco Lindsey, associate director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Haas School of Business
- Berkeley Haas Asst. Dean Erika Walker: Insight into why I’m passionate about social justice and equity
- The Cal Black Student Union’s official statement on police brutality
- A message from Berkeley Haas Black MBA Students
- We’re in a moment of collective trauma. But there are glimmers of hope by john a. powell, Director, UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute
- On George Floyd and the struggle to belong by Denise Herd, Associate Director, UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute
- HBR: What Leaders Must Do Today to Address Systemic Racism
- Hear from groundbreaking black and brown leadership in redefining and redesigning sustainable and equitable food systems:
- “Taking Action on Diversity and Inclusion in the Food Industry” – Edible Education 101 with Samin Nosrat and Shakirah Simley
- “Rebuild the Dream” – Edible Education 101 with Van Jones
- “How Movements Move” – Edible Education 101 with Saru Jayaraman
- Advancing corporate climate action using a human rights‒based approach: Stacey King, MBA ’20, shares her perspective on how companies should approach climate change from a human rights perspective.
- Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism: It’s impossible to live sustainably without tackling inequality, activists say.
- The NAACP has comprehensive definitions and information on environmental justice topics on their Environmental and Climate Justice portion of their website. You can learn more about the work they do for people + planet, as well as donate if you are able.
- The UC Berkeley Division of Equity and Inclusion offers this online compilation of books, articles, documentaries, podcasts, conferences, performances, and more on topics related to equity, inclusion, access, and diversity.
- An essential reading guide for fighting racism from Arianna Rebolini at BuzzFeed
- Order your books from black owned independent bookstore