A Message from Our President and CEO: We Need More Anti-Racism Training, Not Less

 

Dear Friends of The Corps Network,

On September 4, the White House released a memo stating that agencies within the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government must cease using federal dollars to fund trainings on critical race theory for government employees. I am disappointed and saddened by the Administration’s decision to take this action, as I know from experience the benefits of such training both personally and professionally.

Several years ago, before the most recent incidents of police brutality against Black people and the subsequent protests across the country, The Corps Network decided to become more informed about disparities among and inequities directed at certain populations. In February of 2017, the theme for The Corps Network’s national conference was “Moving Forward Together: Promoting Racial, Environmental and Community Equity.” We framed this event as an invitation to our Corps and partners to join us on a journey to examine our work, our organizations, and ourselves as individuals. We stated our intention as an organization to question our assumptions and work purposefully to confront racism and advance equity.

Since 2017, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Corps Network’s Moving Forward Initiative (MFI) has continued to pursue this work internally, with the Corps community, and with our partners, including those within the federal government. Learning opportunities provided to me through our MFI have been transformational for me. Not only is The Corps Network better able to serve all our Corps and all their Corpsmembers, and better able to promote our mission and meet our organizational goals, I am a better leader, a better colleague, a better friend and in short, a better person.

As events of this year have reminded us, our country has a way to go on the journey to achieving equity. We understand that the road on this journey is long and challenging, but The Corps Network is committed to continuing this critical work, even when there are obstacles in our path. I hope the Administration will reconsider its position on critical race theory training and join us in this work.  I invite you to join us as well.

Mary Ellen Sprenkel
President & CEO
The Corps Network

Banner Image: Art by Mark Bradford, “Black Venus” – 2005