RPCV Health Crusade’s Statement on Racial Justice
RPCV Health Crusade joins the Black community in the quest for racial justice and change in the names of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Derrick Scott, Atatiana Jefferson, Muhammad Abdul Mahaymin Jr., Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Pamela Turner, Botham Jean, Laquan McDonald, Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott, Sherida Davis, Stephon Clark, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Sandra Bland, Tanisha Anderson, Hector Arreola, Elijah McClain, Alesia Thomas, Ben Anthony C de Baca, Roy Nelson Jr., Clifton Armstrong, Craig McKinnis, and countless others across the USA and around the world.
Racial justice is not a political issue but a human issue. We support the peaceful protests to stop the brutality and systemic racism. We join the call for change in accountability and mentality.
It is time to listen, learn, and change.
We can and must do better as a society.
RPCV Health Crusade also call upon Peace Corps to review its own policies and approaches in the interest of inclusion and diversity. We recognize that different racial/ethnic groups (Black, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Asian, etc.) and diversity groups (LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, etc.) each brings something unique and significant to the program.
- Do current Peace Corps approaches and policies skew away from different racial or diversity candidates?
- Are PCVs and staff trained to avoid bringing skewed racial perceptions or feelings of “white saviorism” to service?
- Does Peace Corps prepare different racial or LGBTQ+ trainees and PCVs in potentially having a different or more challenging experience during service or training?
- How does Peace Corps address the unique in-service health needs and risks of/to different racial and diversity groups?
- Does Peace Corps provide or cover the cost of needed products/supplies (for textured hair, skin tone, etc.) for Black PCVs who cannot easily get them at their service site?
- How are Peace Corps (in-country and stateside) staff trained to recognize its own biases and actions? And do they understand how those are perceived by PCVs, RPCVs, and host country citizens?
- How many diversity staff members are at the top levels of Peace Corps to offer the needed level of direction and insight? And, would their input be actually heard and applied?
Right now, many organizations are taking an introspective evaluation and making changes towards inclusion and equality. Is Peace Corps also taking a deep look within? Are other RPCV based groups doing the same?
RPCV Health Crusade is in an infancy stage; but we are building this group on the fundamental principle of being inclusive to the health needs of all PCVs and RPCVs. We believe in focusing on solutions. So we started this group to fill a gap instead of just complaining about it. We are working hard on designing our programs and Resource Library to focus on the unique health needs across a diverse community.
Is it enough for organizations to issue a public statement without reviewing its own operations and actions? How or will Peace Corps evolve? Will the groups representing RPCVs take the opportunity to review their own leadership makeup and focus areas? Will you help us build this group and guide our efforts and programs to be as inclusive as possible? It is time to be a part of the solution!