Statement from CPL Directors About Black Lives Matter and our Commitment to Racial Justice

We mourn the deaths of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. We stand with Americans in every state who are organizing, protesting, and seeking to stop violence against Black Americans. We write now to express our grief and our solidarity with those who are leading on the front lines, and to share our organization’s commitments to making change toward racial justice.

Black lives matter. We say this because it must be repeated, by us and by others in positions of privilege, over and over again, until it manifests in the world around us.

America was built on the enslavement and subjugation of Black people. And anti-Black racism still permeates our laws, our institutions, our language, and our culture. Black people in America live with the reality that severe bodily harm may be one police encounter, one door-knock, or one afternoon jog away. The legacy of past and ongoing anti-Black racism affects every social outcome in our society — not just physical violence, but education, health, residence, employment, wealth, and incarceration.

We also recognize the history of anti-Black racism in social science research, in the ways data are collected, the ways studies are conducted, and in the prioritization of certain research questions over others. This history has fostered distrust in the very science that should promote solutions. We are mindful of this history and pledge to do better in our own work.

Verbal condemnations of anti-Black racism are important, but actions speak louder. Change begins at home and with ourselves, and we commit our organization to self-examination, dialogue, and action to promote racial equity. We will redouble our efforts to diversify our staff, incorporate our recognition of structural racism in our research and our practice, and examine racial bias in data collection and analysis. Further, we will launch an internal working group to address these issues at CPL. These are just a few steps on a longer journey. We appreciate your partnership along the way.

In solidarity,

Evan White, Janey Rountree, Jesse Rothstein, and Till von Wachter

Faculty and Executive Directors of the California Policy Lab

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