I would like to share publicly my thoughts on racism and the horrific events of the last few weeks. I’m aided in this by the deeply emotional and thoughtful dialogue taking place within the World Bank Group, including powerful blogs, messages, conversations and town halls.
We’ve agreed to speak out, which I will try to do though I know I won’t be able to find the right or strong enough words.
What happened to George Floyd is beyond reprehensible. I hope that justice will be served for him and his family, but it cannot make up for his death and the pain for him, his family, and all those who care about humanity. The scourge of racism is deep and pernicious and must be confronted and ended.
Racial discrimination and social injustice have no place in any of our workplaces or societies.
Last week, I joined two important all-staff conversations on the subject of racism, along with thousands of my colleagues at the Bank. I’ve been overwhelmed by their emotions and mine, including anger, compassion, and shame at indefensible acts. We discussed what we can do as an institution, and we’ve urged all staff to become part of this conversation.
I announced last week that we’ve set up a Task Force on Racism with a broad mandate to work on issues related to this challenge within our institution, our programs, and countries where we work. Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and World Bank Group General Counsel, is leading the task force, and working closely with Human Resources, Operations, Internal Justice Services, our existing Diversity & Inclusion Council, and offices across the World Bank Group.
As an institution, I’m sure that we can do better in tackling injustices, racism, and inequality within the World Bank Group and around the world. I and the entire senior leadership team are looking forward to working closely with the task force, all staff, shareholders, civil societies and the communities we work in around the world — it is critical that we listen to each other and find ways to take action against racism.
As an institution, I’m sure that we can do better in tackling injustices, racism, and inequality within the World Bank Group and around the world.
This Friday, June 19, is the anniversary of the official end of slavery in the United States and ‘Juneteenth’ is being recognized around the country as a moment to acknowledge the atrocities of the past and make commitments to end racism.
The World Bank Group is planning an all-staff event on the morning of June 19 to recognize this historic day and publicly demonstrate our values, and we will be displaying #EndRacism banners on two of our DC-based office buildings.