March 26, 2021 Blog

Our continuing solidarity efforts

The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor in the spring and summer of 2020 sparked historic calls for change. Their deaths, which came on top of the deaths of so many other Black people in acts of state-sanctioned violence, inspired millions of Americans to demand better, not only from our law enforcement and justice systems, but also from our elected leaders and businesses, from our communities and ourselves. 

Like many others, this movement inspired us at the Alliance to reflect on our role in and relationship to harmful systems as well as our responsibility to be accomplices in the fight to dismantle white supremacy. It underscored that the fight for racial justice and the fight to end gun violence are inextricably linked. We cannot end the gun violence epidemic without rooting out the racism and injustice knit into the fabric of our country. And we cannot create a truly equitable and just future without ending gun violence. 

In June, we shared this statement voicing solidarity with the movement for Black lives and invited our supporters to join us in committing to anti-racist work. We also compiled a list of resources we hoped could help guide anyone looking to deepen their understanding of structural racism and white supremacy. 

We know that in order for our anti-racist work to be meaningful, it must be ongoing. This is not a task that can be checked off a to do list, but a commitment to continuous listening, learning, and acting. We are committed to the journey of unlearning harmful biases and inequitable practices and building a more just and equitable future. We will not always get it right, but we are dedicated to admitting our mistakes and learning from them. 

Finally, we want to be transparent about this work, not in search of recognition but in the pursuit of accountability. In that spirit, we are sharing some concrete steps we have taken to do this work. In the last year we,

  • Held internal deep-dives to discuss centering anti-racism in all our work
  • Applied an equity lens to our policy agenda and removed two previous policies that did not conform 
  • Included a panel on equity in outreach and implementation of protection orders in our virtual summit
  • Diversified news and social feeds, specifically adding additional Black-led and community-based news outlets to social media and press lists to facilitate amplifying BIPOC voices and stories 
  • Recognized Juneteenth as an organization holiday

Additionally, we have made commitments to: 

  • Engage a Black-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion firm to review our practices and help develop future plans. Priorities include: 
    • Reviewing staff salaries and personnel policies with an equity lens
    • Hiring of BIPOC staff and contractors
    • Recruiting members to increase diversity of our board
    • Ensuring our events have a diverse speaker lineup
  • Continue to apply an equity lens to policy development and prioritization to avoid harm to BIPOC communities or other unintended consequences
  • Continue to prioritize police accountability legislation in our policy agenda and advocacy
  • Apply a more rigorous equity lens to our endorsement process
  • Continue to strengthen and expand our partnerships with BIPOC-led organizations leading the fight for racial equity
  • Host a summit to explore the history and intersection of white supremacy and firearm laws and culture (April 7, 2021)
  • Conduct a regular review of external communications for language and content balance

Just as we hold our elected leaders accountable for the promises they make to prevent gun violence, we ask that our supporters and partners hold us accountable for the promises we make to be meaningful accomplices in the fight to dismantle white supremacy. Please email us at [email protected] to provide feedback, criticism, and ideas on our racial justice work. We have so much more to do.

— Renee Hopkins is CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility