Statement from the Advanced Leadership Initiative on the George Floyd Protests

June 3, 2020

This is a time of national and global pain as recent examples of unconscionable racial violence in the U.S. have deepened the wounds inflicted by centuries of injustice towards communities of color.  Outraged by the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and far too many other Black men, women, and children in this country, affected communities and their allies have taken to the streets in protest against police violence and the absence of justice for victims.

More than ever, we need leadership to guide the country forward towards dismantling the structures of racial oppression that have deep historical roots and persist today in a multitude of ways. Addressing the impacts of this systemic oppression, including most recently the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health, education and employment in communities of color, should be a matter of urgent national priority. This is the kind of leadership that the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) seeks to attract, nurture and empower.  Among the ALI Coalition, our alumni are working to advance urban renewal; create equitable access to health, education and legal services; expand financing for minority-owned businesses; and provide support for vulnerable groups including foster children and refugees. Our current Fellows and Senior Fellows are working to address racism through education and storytelling; improve diversity in the education sector; and increase economic inclusion. Our Faculty Board members are working to address education, health and economic inequities, as well as broader systems of racial injustice.

ALI is committed to supporting these initiatives and to amplifying the perspectives and voices of people of color through our recruitment, programming, and collaboration for impact. The pursuit of racial justice deserves a prominent role in the selection of our teaching materials, our speakers and our partnerships. We will continue to make this critical endeavor a special focus of ALI going forward.

Many members of our community are deeply disturbed by the ongoing events and are actively working to address the underlying issues. We welcome suggestions, requests and ideas on how ALI can support the work of our affiliates and of external partners in contributing to social impact leadership on these issues. Please feel free to contact us to share your ideas.

In solidarity,

Meredith Rosenthal

Faculty Chair, Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative
C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics and Policy
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health