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Like you, we at the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls mourn the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and the far too many lives murdered at the hands of white supremacy and law enforcement. We see and feel the pain and trauma that is regularly inflicted on Black lives across the country. We hold our Black Fellows, partners, colleagues, and friends close and commit to fighting for justice with them, standing in solidarity and action with movement leaders calling for justice and systemic change to dismantle oppression in the U.S. and around the world.

At the Aspen Institute Forum on Women and Girls, we recognize that gender equity is inextricably linked to racial equity. There is no gender justice without racial justice. Black women and girls must not be an afterthought in our outrage over police violence and white supremacy. The full potential of women will not be unlocked until we center and address the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and all women of color, including trans women. This philosophy is key to our work as we elevate perspectives across sectors, generations, race, and ethnicity and invest in female leaders of color. We fully commit to the fight of ending structural racism and anti-Blackness.

We need leaders from all sectors and segments of our society who will fight injustice. We are inspired by the work of our remarkable SOAR Fellows. These leaders show us how to face racism and sexism head on. They are reimagining and creating equitable systems for women and girls, offering us a path that will lead us away from violence and toward justice. 

As we commemorate Juneteenth tomorrow and celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of DACA recipients and their recognition of LGBTQ+ rights this week, we recognize the work of Black trans women who have led this fight and the work still left ahead to protect these leaders and all women. We call on each of you to use your power to speak out and act against police violence and systemic racism – now and each day ahead, even if media attention fades. We must stand up for Black women and girls now and always.

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