Around the Institute

Statement on Protests and Police Violence

June 1, 2020  • Daniel R. Porterfield

A statement from Aspen Institute President and CEO Dan Porterfield:

The Aspen Institute is committed to helping to build a free, just, and equitable society. Now more than ever, this calling requires us to focus on sustainable solutions to structural racism, police violence, and inequitable economic, health care, and education systems. It also requires all institutions, including ours, to ask what more we can and should do to live our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We call on local, state and national governments to show restraint and do more to protect those who are engaging in civil protest—and to begin new efforts to address and resolve the persistent injustices that have led to the great anger and frustration of so many people.

We are a nonprofit organization that seeks to convene inclusively and help solve society’s greatest challenges. A critical part of the Institute’s work is to drive change on issues of racial equity and racial justice—as partners in many communities, connecting changemakers in different sectors, on the ground with young people, advocating for economic inclusion, bridging differences of opinion, and providing platforms for new ideas. Now more than ever this work matters profoundly, and we must build upon it.

For nearly three months, America and the world have been coping with a health and economic crisis of unprecedented scope and scale. We now add to this upheaval a new manifestation of the foundational American crisis of racism and racial oppression. As we seek to make sense of and address these challenges, we also know that they are deeply interrelated. The disproportionate impacts of the pandemic and of police violence on communities of color both expose and extend from injustices woven into the fabric of America. Reactions of grief, rage, and protest are not only understandable, they are justified. So, too, are calls for hope, community, and change.