In our communities and men’s groups across the country, our brothers are hurting. Men we have held, cried with, celebrated with are in pain, witnessing men who look like them being killed for the color of their skin.
What happened to George Floyd should not happen. The killing of an unarmed black man by police officers – whose duty is to protect and serve – should not happen. What happened to Christian Cooper should not happen. What happened to Ahmaud Arbery should not happen.
The ManKind Project USA condemns the racist policies, systems, and individual actions that kill, wound, and neglect our fellow human beings.
The images of our current reality are devastating and painful. For some of our brothers, these images are no longer shocking – this brutality is expected. That alone tells us how dire our situation has become. We open our arms and hearts to stand with all those experiencing the pain of this ongoing injustice.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Our liberation is bound together. The collective wounds of racism must be healed. Inherited lies told and retold about our fellow humans, must be undone. Four hundred years of trauma, slavery, segregation, enforced poverty, abuse and neglect need healing. This healing requires anti-racist action.
We have failed to create sufficient change. There have been, and are, efforts to build cultural competence and intercultural connection in the ManKind Project. There are pockets of hope and progress, led by men and women with deep commitment, but there is much more that we can do, and need to do.
The ManKind Project USA is currently about 75% white, non-hispanic men. The responsibility to acknowledge unearned privilege, remove barriers, create inclusive spaces, and confront racist thought and policy rests largely with this majority.
Today we recommit to a path of justice, self-examination, and action. These few commitments below, together with yours, are only a start:
- Listening: MKP USA will launch bi-weekly dialog calls inviting men to be in meaningful connection and listening to diverse voices. (1st Call – June 8, 2020)
- Non-silence: MKP USA will more frequently speak out on issues impacting historically targeted populations, and center voices from these groups.
- Curriculum: MKP USA will, before September 2020, launch or partner with two or more offerings specifically addressing racism.
- Community: MKP USA will provide Safer Circles and Community Resources on how communities can be more inclusive and safe for the historically oppressed.
- Leadership: MKP USA leadership commits to improving cultural competency.
We challenge you, particularly our white brothers in the ManKind Project USA, to take action on their own and with their men’s groups:
- List of 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- “Hard Conversations: Intro to Racism” course by Patti Digh and Victor Lee Lewis.
(There is a discount available on this course. Use ‘mkp’ coupon.)
What happened to George Floyd was not isolated, not unique, and not acceptable.
In 2015, MKP USA approved and published a Stand on Racism and Oppression. We recognized then that our history of institutional silence on issues with broad societal impacts, though well-intended, was more a show of complicity than equanimity. No institution is colorblind. We cannot ignore the lived experience of black men and women in our communities.
What we do as the ManKind Project USA, can, and does, help.
As an organization that serves men from all backgrounds, we see what is possible in building connections across differences. MKP helps men connect to their hearts. We offer men healthy ways of relating to and expressing their emotions. Our work helps rewire the systems at the roots of male violence, dominance, disconnection, and lack of integrity.
“Our vision is a safe world, where all men are brothers, in relationship with one another …”
While deeply embedded racism devalues black lives, we will never realize our vision. And this work must start from the inside out.
It is only to the extent that men in MKP do the work that we might succeed in changing the culture. Only through evolved understanding, deconstruction of our limiting beliefs, and anti-racist action will we impact the internal and external structures that perpetuate racism. The number of men with military, law-enforcement, mental health, and criminal justice backgrounds who have benefited from our work continues to grow. These people continue carrying the work to communities where it is needed now more than ever.
Our work, men’s work, can help heal society.
Let’s do what needs doing, and be the kind of men who help make it possible.
The ManKind Project USA Board
Paul Samuelson, Chair
Bryan Harold, Chair Elect
Ed Gurowitz, Immediate Past Chair
Neal Gritz, Treasurer
Deb Mauger, Board Member
Jon Levitt, Board Member
Richard Torres, Board Member
Further actions …
On June 1, the ManKind Project USA published
“ManKind Project USA: BLACK LIVES MATTER”
to the MKPUSA.org web site.
On June 7, a man left a string of comments on the post that were overtly racist. MKP USA will not tolerate such actions. MKP USA’s practice on social media is to address, hide, and ban users who engage in abusive behavior. The comment section was shut down as soon as we were alerted, and later the comments were removed from the page and an apology statement was added to the post.
The MKP USA Board was engaged to investigate and support additional actions.
In the time since, there has been direct dialogue with the man to determine his openness to doing work around the racist statements, and the man declined. The Board Secretary filed a formal complaint on behalf of the Board with Ethics and Right Relationship requesting, subject to that process, that he be removed from all lists until such time that he expresses a willingness to do reparative work in this area.
In MKP USA, men from a broad spectrum of diversity are welcome. All behavior, however, is not welcome. We will always meet individuals in their willingness to work. Racist, abusive, or violent behavior that, when confronted, is not met with willingness to learn and grow, but instead met with additional perpetration, will not be tolerated.
Words like those posted in these comments have been used to blame, avoid responsibility, and to inflict pain on Black people for hundreds of years and will NOT be tolerated in the project. Actions like these are inconsistent with our organizational Values, the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA), and our Safer Circles Policies.
Additional actions have been, or will shortly be, taken:
- Add the Black Lives Matter Statement to the top section of mkpusa.org – complete
- Add this letter to the bottom of the Black Lives Matter Statement – complete
- Create a reference to the statement prominently in MKPConnect – complete
- Send additional Broadcast reminders of MKP USA Policies including our EULA and Safer Circles Policy that support this stance
- Complete a formal complaint with Ethics and Right Relationship
The ManKind Project USA Board