June 2, 2020

Bridgespan Stands in Solidarity with Black People

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin

Bridgespan stands in solidarity with Black people—our team members, our clients, and our social change partners—and all others fighting for a more just and equitable world. The dehumanization and systemic racism faced by Black people, and other communities of color, must be challenged in every instance, rooted out, and eliminated. We recognize that racism permeates American society and infects us all, including Bridgespan. As the Racial Equity Institute puts it, racism is in the groundwater of America, and we have all been drinking from it for centuries.

Words feel utterly inadequate to address the injustice and inequity in the United States right now. Yet silence is its own form of violence. It is not enough to feel bad or think that things must change; the injustices need to be named and confronted. It is not enough to not be racist; every one of us needs to be actively, vocally, tirelessly antiracist. Indeed, it is the long near-silence and actual or perceived indifference of white people in the face of injustice that has compelled so many across the country to join protests to demand change.

Fueling the outrage is the reality that the fundamental dynamics of racism and injustice persist. See the vastly disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the deaths, infections, and economic dislocations of Black communities. See the casual, intentionally dangerous racism a white woman hurled at a Black man birdwatching in Central Park. See the horrific murder of Ahmaud Arbery gunned down by a racist father and son, with charges filed only after the video’s release. See the horrific murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, each killed by the police. See the criminal justice system that has terrorized the lives of people of color since this country’s founding and that repeatedly fails to provide justice for all. See the relentless voter suppression that aims to leave voiceless and vote-less so many Black citizens. Too many white people are willing to look away from these billboards of systemic racism. We must heed James Baldwin’s powerful words: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Today, white people must see, learn about, and acknowledge the racial injustice, inequity, and inhumanity that is encoded in our systems and structures—with life and death implications every day for people of color. Today, white people must bear witness to the exhaustion, trauma, pain, and anger Black people and other people of color feel. Just as urgently white allies must act, supporting Black people’s efforts to build on the strengths of their people and communities while at the same time being honest about the advantage that comes with whiteness.

Bridgespan’s racial equity journey—led by colleagues of color and others across the organization—has recently accelerated. Admittedly, our organization moved far too slowly for far too long. Our colleagues of color and a handful of others carried the burden and paid a price for raising the crucial issues of racial justice. We are working hard to change that. Over the past five years, we have come to see even more starkly how central racial justice is to the impact we seek in the world.

What you can expect from us: We will work relentlessly to move America away from the white supremacy that will ultimately diminish and destroy us all if not confronted and ended. If you are a social change leader, you will see us interrogating the role of structural racism and applying a racial equity lens in service of deeply understanding the problems you seek to address and their possible solutions—not because we have all the answers, but because we know these are crucial questions. If you are a funder, you will see us challenging you to break through the systemic barriers that impede your capital from flowing to Black leaders and other leaders of color. And if you are a member of the Bridgespan team, know that while we are a work-in-progress and continuously learning, you will see us act with an unwavering commitment to fighting racism in all its forms and to making the world a more just and equitable place.

Jeff Bradach and the Bridgespan partner group

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The Bridgespan Group would like to thank the JPB Foundation for its generous and ongoing support of our knowledge creation and sharing work.