BLM Statement

Dear Friends of Rwanda Girls Initiative and Gashora Girls Academy,

The past few days have shone a spotlight on the tremendous injustices in our society. We are sickened by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and of George Floyd in Minnesota. We recognize that these are just the latest names added to our country’s centuries long history of violence toward and systemic oppression of Black lives. We are struggling with insurmountable grief, rage, and pain. We recognize that feelings alone will not bring about change.

In the midst of so much grief and trauma, we also find ourselves in the thick of the one of the most consequential pandemics in modern history. The pandemic has revealed inequities in education, health care, and in our economy; disproportionately impacting Black, immigrant and refugee, and low-income communities.

At Rwanda Girls Initiative, we stand with our Black and African American colleagues, students, and alumnae in the fight against systematic inequities. We stand in solidarity with those across our country and across the world who are speaking out against institutional racism, anti-blackness and standing up for the pursuit of equity and justice for all.

We recognize the tremendous learning we must do as individuals and as an organization to confront systematic oppression, racism and inequality. We are committed to working towards systemic change, locally and globally. We are actively educating ourselves, addressing our own biases, listening to those who have been injured and oppressed and challenging our community, our state, nation and our world to be better. We implore you to join us in purposefully learning, and listening. It is up to all of us to be active learners and engage in dialogue and civic action, to hold each other accountable, to lift our voices and to amplify Black voices. As we seek to educate ourselves, we have compiled a list of recommended resources from those who know more than us on our website.

Now is not the time to be silent or complacent. This moment is our call to action. We must speak out wherever there is racism, hatred and violence. Together we must think, care and act with humility and conviction.

We will work together to bring about justice and enduring change in our country and our world. It will not happen overnight but let us use this moment to commit to fighting for a better, more just future for all.

Sincerely,

The Rwanda Girls Initiative Board of Directors, Executive team, and staff.


The following resources are not meant to be comprehensive.

Resource Books:

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michael Alexander

How to Be an AntiRacist & Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates

The Warmth of Other Sons: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

You Failed Us: Students of Color Talk Seattle Schools by Azure Savage

Waking Up White by Debby Irving

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett

Becoming by Michelle Obama

America's Original Sin by Jim Wallis

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Poetry / Novels:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Documentaries/Films:

13th on Netflix and YouTube: Examination of the U.S. prision system and how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.

I am not Your Negro: Director Raoul Peck envisions the book that James Baldwin never finished. It is a journey into black history that connects the Civil Rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter.

American Son on Netflix: A couple reunite in a police station to find their missing teenage son.

Just Mercy: Watch for Free, the the film based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson.

If Beale Street Could Talk Based on the novel by James Baldwin, set in early 1970's Harlem, a couple navigates their future plans when he is accused of a crime he didn't commit.

The Hate You Give: A teen witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend and must decide whether to testify.

Selma: A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's campaign to secure equal voting rights via a march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Podcasts:

1619: A New York Times audio series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones that examines the shadow of a ship carrying 20 enslaved Africans from England to Virginia.

Beyond Prisons: This podcast explores the possibilities in creating systemic change in our criminal justice system.

White Lies on NPR: In 1965, Rev. James Reeb was murdered in Selma, Alabama. Three men were tried and acquitted, but no one was ever held to account. Fifty years later, two journalists from Alabama return to the city where it happened, expose the lies that kept the murder from being solved and uncover a story about guilt and memory that says as much about America today as it does about the past.

Code Switch: "A Tale of Two School Districts"

Unlocking Us with Brene Brown : Episode: Brene with Ibram X Kendi on How to be an Antiracist.

Scene on Radio: Seeing White: Episode: "How Race was Made"

Pod Save the People: Activist DeRay McKesson explores news, culture, social justice and politics.

Good Ancestor Podcast: An interview series with Layla Saad featuring change-makers and culture-shapers exploring what it means to be a good ancestor.

Pod For the Cause: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights launched this podcast to expand the conversation on the critical civil and human rights challenges of our day.