Dear GAEE Community,
There is a sorrow profoundly rooted in the conscience of our world and in the hearts of millions right now. As a community, we must stand up for each other and acknowledge the terror and indignation rightly ignited by the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. They are humans inside a far longer history of systemic racism that has facilitated discrimination and guarded the violation of human rights.
The traumatic history is still ever-present nowadays — not only in the prevalence of violence but also in the day-to-day experience of deep-rooted discrimination.
I’ve heard from so many that you’re frightened — in your own communities, in your everyday lives and, most brutally, in your own skin. A society cannot be worth celebrating unless every person who gives it their spirit, energy, and life is free from fear.
At GAEE, we believe in the power of life-changing knowledge — economics education, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship incubation — as a stepping stone of new systems that respect and provide equal opportunity and justice for everyone. We have always drawn strength from diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life into our chapters across the globe, and strived to create a GAEE network that is inclusive of everyone.
But we must do more.
In order to create progress, we need to re-examine our own beliefs and actions in light of a pain that is profoundly felt but overlooked all too often. Issues of human character cannot be solved by standing on the sidelines. To the Black community: we see you. You matter, and your lives matter.
We have to acknowledge that the proliferation of knowledge is also shaped by the very institutional inequity that we are striving to rectify. The communities most affected by generations of injustice, for instance, are the least likely to have access to the resources and technology that so many of us take for granted.
That means we must also hold ourselves accountable as members of a knowledge-based organization: We built the infrastructure to democratize access to economics education. We have to understand that our advances have occurred within a social and economic framework designed to sustain inequality.
We are dedicated to continuing our work to carry vital learning opportunities and technology across the globe to underserved regions – which consists disproportionately of Black communities and other communities of color. We are devoted to looking inward and to moving forward on inclusion and diversity in our recruiting process. We are committed to creating open platforms within our affiliated chapters, where every great idea and insight can be heard. We are open to inviting those who would like to use our platform to share their messages and engage others in communication.
We know that these acts are just a little bit of what’s needed. We are strongly committed to engaging with all of you in this dialogue, to bringing about change in the world around us, and to finding ways to contribute and build more value.
We need a world that is just for everyone. That will demand a tremendous amount of individual, organizational, and societal efforts. We want to be part of the change — leading where leadership may be absent and following where the greatest value will be generated.
In the words of Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We must commit ourselves to being that change with every breath we take, and to creating a better, more just world for all. Let’s work together as one so that we can have the equitable communities we all aspire to.
Le Dong Hai “DoHa” Nguyen, FRSA
Co-founder, Executive Director, President of the Board
Global Association of Economics Education