A Message on GIV’s Commitment to Anti-Racism

GIV vehemently condemns racism, oppression and violence against Black people and we mourn the tragic and unacceptable loss of countless invaluable lives due to discrimination and hate.
Our board, faculty, staff and young alumni have worked together this week to draft a statement expressing our collective outrage, awareness, and determination to dismantle systemic racism in America. It’s been a passionate, collaborative effort, but it remains unfinished, because all the eloquent words we’ve generated don’t add up to nearly enough.
What does feel powerful is an action plan, so that’s what we’d like to provide now in the hope that it may give you a sense of promise. Here are things GIV will be doing in the coming days to recognize and root out racism within our community.
GIV will:
  1. Redouble targeted outreach to welcome marginalized and Black students into GIV’s lifechanging opportunities;
  2. Provide extra support, opportunities for awareness and discussion in our upcoming programs for young people grappling with racism or its impacts on their lives;
  3. Create and review curricula through a lens of racial awareness to combat America’s ingrained history of marginalizing and discrediting Black Americans’ achievements;
  4. Add specific anti-racism training for all GIV staff and faculty;
  5. Accelerate work already underway to diversify GIV’s Board, staff, and decision-making;
  6. Research and train our volunteer talent scout network in techniques to overcome hidden bias;
  7. Conduct a Board-driven assessment of internal barriers that may be hindering talented Black students from accessing or thriving at GIV; and
  8. Move the internal conversation begun this week into a permanent collaborative forum to foster an ongoing organization-wide discussion of the many ways that GIV and members of the GIV family can stand against racism.
Against the enormity of the problem, this list still seems inconsequential, and you may find that as frustrating as we do. But as GIV teaches students, if we aspire high, then take concrete steps to make our dreams reality, we can achieve almost anything. I promise you that the grievous wrongs afflicting our country today will only accelerate GIV’s work against educational inequity and injustice, and together with the efforts of other passionate advocates and allies, we can and will make a difference.  We must – for every hopeful young person who deserves to inherit a world free of hate.
Kaomi Taylor Mitchell

Kaomi Taylor Mitchell

Karen is Executive Director at the Governor's Institutes of Vermont.