By the team at AFS International

We are in pain. We hear the painful outcries triggered by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, João Pedro Mattos Pinto, Adama Traoré, and too many others around the world. The racism and systemic injustice that we  continue to witness worldwide are unacceptable. We have fallen short. 

We must fight racism and white supremacy everywhere.
We recognize unity in this fight is long overdue.
We recognize that this fight is a difficult one to have.
We recognize there is still a long way ahead.
A more just and peaceful world continues to be under threat, and we cannot continue on this course. 

We encourage reflection. It is more important than ever to not treat this moment in history as just another day – but to stop, listen, and reflect. We recognize that we at AFS, and the entire international education community, can and must do better at educating ourselves and our communities, and taking effective action as individuals and organizations to tackle stereotypes, biases and systemic racial and discrimination injustices. We invite you to reflect on some of the questions we have been asking ourselves:

  • What biases do I hold? How can I change my behaviors that might oppress and hurt others?
  • What inequalities and injustices have I ignored in my family, community, workplace, country?
  • How do I support those who face various forms of systemic oppression and have fewer opportunities than I?
  • Where and how can I learn more about transforming the way we collectively view and treat one another?

We urge action. We must unite and collaborate to abolish racism and discrimination around the world. Today we commit to starting and joining the conversations and actions that will ensure statements like this one are no longer needed. We know this is a small but much needed step. We recognize we must work even harder on educating ourselves and others about racial inequalities, power discrepancies, bias recognition, and we will work to create more opportunities for our communities to learn how to honor and engage with the diversity that makes our societies strong.

We call for a more just and peaceful world. It has been AFS’s mission for decades to connect people across cultures and differences to transform the way we view and treat one another. Our belief in this mission is not shaken, only reinforced at this time. 

We are not alone. AFS stands with the global movement to end systemic racism and white supremacy, and promote the values of dignity, diversity appreciation, inclusion and acceptance.

We recommend using the following resources, which will be regularly updated:

Read this statement in Spanish