woman with birds and sky
By Fetzer Institute President Bob Boisture and Board Chair Carolyn Brown

We are heartbroken by the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing events that have unfolded in our country and around the world in the past week.

The Fetzer Institute’s mission of helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world compels us to address the challenging structural issues that have given rise to racial injustice in the history of the United States and in our present day.

We recognize the sacred dignity and worth of everyone in our country, and we commit to join others in building a society and the world in which not just some of us, but all of us, can flourish.

Congruent with our mission, this requires the work and practice of living into and creating the beloved community—a community where love and sacred relationship triumph over fear and hatred, with justice and equity at the center.

We take this moment to reaffirm our purpose statement for our diversity, equity, and inclusion work:

As a community of freedom working together in support of the Fetzer Institute’s mission…

We believe the fundamental nature of reality is a sacred community that includes all people and all of creation.

We believe that robust diversity is an inherent quality of our sacred community, and that a threat to human flourishing anywhere is a threat to human flourishing everywhere.

We acknowledge that we do actual harm to both self and society when we fail to name and dismantle threats to equity and inclusion.

We therefore commit to deepen our collective understanding of the systemic impacts of bias and oppression at every level of our internal and external work, and to implement strategic practices that contribute to a truly loving world for all.

The disturbing events over the past week and over the nation’s 400-year history illuminate the systemic nature of American racism. By racism, we refer not only to overt acts of bigotry, but unseen, more corrosive forms that are embodied in white privilege—a construct in our society that provides many advantages to whites that are not readily available to everyone else. We recognize that while individual actions are extremely important, racism is not solely a matter of individual actions and we must all come to terms with the evidence that we are all deeply affected by racism, whether we are white or brown or black. 

We call upon all of us to ask, out of the depths of our hearts and the fullness of our intellects, what implications does this moment have for us personally and for our country?

We acknowledge that answers will emerge and deepen over time as we steadfastly live with this question and dedicate ourselves to truth-telling about race in the United States so that we may move toward living free of the terrible grip of racial injustice and become exemplars of the world we want to leave to coming generations.

For our partners that have already been doing this work with courage and heart, we thank you for your partnership and your commitment. And there is work that many of us have yet to do. We must all listen deeply, respond with love, and act with conviction.

Only by grounding ourselves in our deepest spiritual values can we sustain the courage to enter into the difficult inner work of racial justice and the unrelenting commitment to transforming our world.

Bob Boisture is the Fetzer Institute's President and CEO; Carolyn Brown chairs the Fetzer Institute's Board of Trustees.