To be transparent, the Executive Committee has discussed whether to release a statement based on current events - and if so, how to acknowledge the breadth of what is happening and assure folks that we see the pain they may be going through, while not retraumatizing people in the process. We are trying our best with this message to support our full community.
If you would like to know more about why we feel moved to reach out to our members now and you feel in a safe space to read about upsetting events, please read below our signatures.
What is bringing us hope
In parallel with tragedies in our world, there is ongoing resistance and efforts to achieve the full inclusion of women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ people. Presently, we find inspiration and hope with the following people/efforts, among many more:
The leadership of students and other young people in organizing for their own safety
The Black Lives Matter movement
The ¡Milwaukee Evaluation! network, which will be holding their 5th annual conference on social justice and evaluation this fall
The May 13 Group, an invitation and a movement spearheaded by Dr. Vidhya Shanker to “repair, reverse, redress, and regenerate from the pattern of epistemic violence initiated by The May 12 Group’s racialized circulation of capital within evaluation’s political economy and convene an ecosystem structured instead around collectivism and solidarity, which nurtures epistemic healing and wholeness.”
Deb Haaland, the first Indigenous Secretary of the Interior, under whose leadership a recent report on boarding schools was released
Frank Waln, a Lakota rapper and speaker who shared his story during a plenary session of the American Evaluation Association 2021 conference
What we are doing
As a network of people working in and around evaluation, we know we must acknowledge these contexts to work towards full inclusion of our members with these identities. We ultimately strive to achieve equitable and just outcomes for the people and communities with whom we work. Therefore, it is necessary for us to mark these moments, extend our wishes for healing, and commit to continued and expanded action.
For our members and friends targeted or directly affected by recent assaults and impending political changes, GBEN commits to standing with you in healing and justice. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like support during this time, or if you have ideas for how GBEN can better support our community. Our committees are actively discussing ways to create more inclusive and supportive community-building throughout GBEN, and we welcome your ideas. We also welcome your feedback on this messaging.
For the allies among us, we wish you the courage and humility to show up for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ people in the ways that will be of greatest service. Here are some resources and ways to get involved:
Service Never Sleeps Allyship trainings
Antiracism daily newsletter
Find your legislators and contact them to take action
The GBEN Executive Committee is currently finalizing our Strategic Plan for the next three years. Our strategic goals include growing a more diverse membership, offering more programming that contributes to a more just and equitable field, increasing community-building and inclusion particularly for historically excluded folks, and embedding more DEI-focus principles and practices in GBEN structures and Committee work. Please look for more details soon.
The Greater Boston Evaluation Network Executive Committee
Please stop here if you do not wish to read about current day assaults and tragedies
What prompted us to send this message
The Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Evaluation Network (GBEN) condemns the recent assaults on women, BIPOC, and school-children. We initially drafted this statement prior to the murder of school-children and teachers in Uvalde, TX on May 24. While some aspects of that tragic, unacceptable assault are different from some of the earlier assaults we mention below, we also view it as a perpetuation of toxic masculinity and privileging the comfort of (white) men over the rights to existence and bodily autonomy of women, BIPOC, and LTGBQ people.
On May 14, an avowed white supremacist carried out an act of terror on the Black community of Buffalo, NY, explicitly choosing a gathering place for East Buffalo’s Black population. Earlier the same week, a shooter targeted a Korean salon in Dallas, TX, continuing an appalling trend of violence against Asian American people and women in particular. These physical assaults follow the news of the Supreme Court appearing to prepare to overturn Roe v. Wade and the national rights of bodily autonomy for women and people who can get pregnant. This assault is also overlaid on the history of systemic racism in this country, which ensures that BIPOC and low-income people will be the worst affected. In addition, last week saw the long-overdue release of a report by the Department of the Interior about the racism, colonialism, and violence carried out by over 400 forced boarding schools for Indigenous children, which led to over 500 deaths. Lastly, all of this has taken place against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to demonize and exclude LGBTQ people, especially transgender children.
These assaults are part of a past and present of white supremacist and misogynist violence and attempted control. In his draft opinion, Justice Samuel Alito argued that the right to bodily autonomy is “not deeply rooted” in our nation’s traditions. We find this sentiment abhorrent; however, these recent events have also demonstrated yet again that racism, colonialism, and patriarchy are far too deeply rooted in this nation’s traditions.
Our message above is intended to support our community while we all grapple with these unfolding events. We hope that including the details here may help some people feel seen in their pain, and help others learn more about the context their colleagues may be facing.