On George Floyd

A statement from IRLE Director (through June 30) Jesse Rothstein and incoming IRLE Director Steven Raphael.

Like all of you, we have been shocked by the news of the last couple of weeks. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery were senseless acts of violence, especially disturbing because we know that they would have passed without a trace, like so many have before, had they not been captured on video. And the violent police reactions to legitimate protests, especially contrasted to the quite different reaction to protests against quarantine rules just weeks earlier, are yet another reminder that our society is in many ways built upon deeply rooted assumptions of racial hierarchy.

IRLE is committed to the struggle for a more just society that works to eradicate the ongoing manifestations of America’s original sin. We believe that our work on behalf of workers and their families is inextricably tied up with the effort to tear down racial hierarchies, and that we all have responsibilities to eradicate racism at all levels of our society, beginning inside our own house but certainly not stopping there.

We have encouraged the members of the IRLE team and the Institute’s centers to use this moment to reaffirm and live out our commitment to the values of inclusivity, decency, and the pursuit of justice. We know that through your work and scholarship, many of you seek answers to the challenges that we face in our country and our world. We are grateful to count you as partners in our efforts to help inform what a more just, more equal society can and should look like.