We are a community in pain.
The tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and many other Black people in the U.S. -- often at the hands of police officers or deputized civilians -- cry out for immediate, significant, and systemic societal reform that can finally and meaningfully address the long and troubled history of racial injustice in America.
Some of us have been quick to respond. Loudly. Resolutely. Others have shut down in anger, sadness or hopelessness. Feeling scared.
No matter how we are feeling, it is important that we condemn these horrific acts of violence against Black people and other people of color. But it is not enough.
It is important that we say loud and clear that Black Lives Matter and that we stand with our family, friends and colleagues in the Black Community. But it is not enough.
Racial injustice in law enforcement is deeply-rooted and systemic. There are many decent policemen and policewomen who do their best every day to faithfully honor their oath to protect and serve all people. Yet an anti-Black culture within law enforcement has made it acceptable for many police officers to specifically target, devalue, dehumanize, and kill Black men and women, while the system pressures many otherwise honorable cops to remain silent and complicit.
All this must change.
It’s not what we say, it’s what we do. And it’s not what we do today, it’s what we commit to weaving permanently into the fabric of our lives, our homes, our organizations, and our communities.
U-Jam and World of Dance have always stood for peace, love, unity, and acceptance. Our mission calls for doing more than putting up a social media post. We must and will commit not only to address our own opportunities to improve, but also to bring the full potential of our community to advocate for more meaningful solutions that can help bridge the racial divide that infects our society today.
We Will Establish a Diversity Council.
We will be establishing a council of U-Jam instructors who will help assess our commitment and efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive organization. We will ask the council to help us establish goals and provide feedback on the decisions we make.
We Will Facilitate Dialogues.
We will seek volunteers from the community to help facilitate ongoing discussions about issues of racism and discrimination and how our organization and individual members can advocate for meaningful solutions. We are also currently exploring professionally facilitated dialogues that could be implemented in a virtual setting.
We Will Provide Training.
We will take what we learn from the Diversity Council and dialogues to develop diversity training that will be required for all staff and current instructors and incorporated into all future instructor trainings. We are also in the process of developing a free community leadership program through World of Dance Studios dedicated to building more inclusive communities.
We Will Share Resources.
We are compiling a list of resources to help our community get educated on racism and take action to promote racial justice and equality.
Realizing we have room for improvement shouldn’t be shameful. It’s what we do with the realization that matters.
We realize we have a lot of work to do. We’re ready.
In peace, love, and unity,
Matthew Everitt, CEO
on behalf of the World of Dance Fitness Team