The Aspen Challenge stands firmly against the repeated injustice, bigotry, racism, and murder committed against Black people in this country. Black Lives Matter. Ahmaud Arbery had a name. Breonna Taylor had a name. George Floyd had a name. David McAtee had a name. They were sons, and daughters, and brothers, and sisters, and neighbors, and joggers, and business owners, and civil servants. They mattered. They matter.
At the Aspen Challenge, we stand on a foundation of collective action. We believe—whole-heartedly and without apology—that youth uniting for community change is what will create a better future not just for young people, but for all of us. As we watch the cities that we love and have worked in—LA, Denver, Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, Dallas, Louisville, and Miami—demand a change to the systemic racism that has plagued our country since its inception, we stand in awe and solidarity at the bravery and the conviction of the mostly young people leading the charge.
Brianna N., Aspen Challenge: Louisville 2020 participant from the Marion C. Moore High School, said, “The world fears change and differences. Youth are key to eliminating this fear and initiating a long-term movement of acceptance.” This last week has proved that the movement has started. And that youth will continue to be the catalyst for positive and lasting change.
We deeply recognize that there is still much work to be done—both as individuals and as a community— to begin to create a country that is antiracist. We are committed to doing this work not only with you, but beside you.
Here is what our team is committing to you right now as actions, not words, to contribute to systemic change:
Aspen Challenge will proactively look inward first to ensure our own house is in order. We will do this by pushing beyond equity training toward justice-based training. We will also advance efforts in our broader organization to live our values of creating a “free, just, and equitable society.”
Effective immediately, all organizations, consultants, and partners will be formally vetted to ensure alignment with our values and particularly those associated with equity and justice. No resources or expenses will go to organizations or businesses that are not aligned with these values. We will also prioritize supporting businesses owned by People of Color. This will now be an explicit policy rather than just good practice.
If you have suggestions for what more the Aspen Challenge can do to continue to learn, grow, and contribute to antiracism, please contact us at any time.
We are with you.