Washington, D.C. – (June 4, 2020) – Racism. At a bare minimum, we must notice, care, and condemn the systemic violence against people of color. REBA categorically denounces racially-charged violence and discrimination of any kind, and REBA supports the peaceful demonstrations calling for radical changes in our society.
As a leader and as a mother, like so many of you, I have once again been heartbroken and outraged by yet another spate of violence against black people: the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, to name a few. And Christian Cooper could have easily faced the same fate given the false, racially-charged accusations against him when he asked a white woman to follow dog-leashing laws in Central Park. This still exists in 2020, and it has to stop.
The harder thing to do is to look deep within ourselves, all of us, and ask ourselves: “What can I do better? What can my organization do better?”
According to Brookings Institute, the entire clean energy sector continues to trail other industries in diversity across occupations, with less than 10% of the workforce from black communities. REBA knows that diversity not only makes our organization and our industry stronger, but is foundational to our ability to achieve our vision of a resilient zero-carbon energy system.
Although I am proud that REBA, at just over one year old, has articulated in policy our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, I also know that commitments are not enough, and policies are only the baseline. REBA actively seeks out diverse candidates for all our jobs, at every level—and we strive to ever-increase our understanding and unveil our unconscious biases. It is not enough.
There is so much more work to be done, and REBA must lead by example and in practice. We are small but mighty.
As part of the next phase of our young organization’s development, REBA commits to develop and implement strategies and practices to bring to life REBA’s Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, doing our part to proactively break down the systemic and personal barriers—both known and unknown—that block diversity and inclusion at REBA and in our industry. We will continue to build REBA’s core tenet of a spirit of partnership and our core value of respect for people and the planet.
This will take time, effort, research, and focus, and we will learn from those before us and people in diverse communities. I know that it is not only the right thing to do in partnership with and respect for our fellow humans who have been held back by systemic barriers, but it’s also the right thing to do for REBA.
As members of REBA, if you have insight, passion, or interest in helping REBA take this next step, please reach out to me.
In the words of a dear friend of mine, “no single action that will eliminate racism, but meaningful progress will require empathy and collective efforts to ensure things change.”