Statement on Democracy, Racial Equality, and Justice by Andrew Wilson, Executive Director

06.05.2020 | Statement/News Release

Washington, DC – Andrew Wilson, Executive Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise, has released the following statement:

At the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) we work every day to support individuals and civic organizations around the world as they attempt to exercise their democratic rights.  We believe democracy is based on the principles of justice, equality, and rule of law. CIPE’s focus on economic empowerment and inclusion go hand in hand with these values, along with the universal desire for freedom and dignity.

We join those who are enraged over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and extend our heartfelt sympathy to their families. CIPE’s voice is in solidarity with those calling for a full measure of justice in their deaths, and a reexamination of public policies that lead to the everyday police harassment of minorities in our society. Police brutality and racist violence are wrong, and we fully support the call to confirm as a nation the sanctity of Black lives and the need for policies that protect them.

The public outrage that has gripped our nation stems from a legitimate and democratic outpouring of concern over these recent deaths, as well as the persistent violations of human rights and civil rights that are rooted in racially biased policing policies. Those who protest peacefully are responsibly exercising their constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly and should be allowed to do so free from the instances of police violence that we have witnessed in recent days.

As an organization that believes in freedom, the importance of democracy, and economic opportunity for all, we call on policy makers, civil society, and business to work with minority communities. They must recognize and address the underlying causes of enduring racism in our country and the economic, social, educational, and institutional barriers that exist to perpetuate it.  Only through dialogue and meaningful action can we begin to move our country forward from the pernicious effects of persistent and endemic racism. Understanding the difficulties small businesses face at the best of times, we also extend our support to the many community businesses suffering from the destruction and loss of property resulting from unrest.

In public squares across the globe, citizens have stood up in solidarity and support for the inalienable rights of all people, regardless of the color of their skin, to be treated with dignity. Democracy is an iterative process, where all citizens should have the opportunity to leave their mark and provide a better future for their children. No other system of government offers the tools for every citizen, especially those marginalized by the powerful, to organize and act on behalf of building a better environment for their fellow human beings.

The United States has a robust history of civic activism for racial justice that has inspired the world.  However, our influence and moral authority to advance democracy abroad has been substantially undermined by the actions and failings of our own governments and institutions.  We must demand more of ourselves and our elected leaders to address the failings in our society and commit to a democracy that delivers for all.

This statement is also available in Arabic