The Starting Point

We recognize that we are in a moment of crisis where a global pandemic and ongoing systemic racism maintained by a white supremacist culture requires an intentional and urgent adaptation of our work in this moment. Our vision is a world beyond war where humanity is united and a global system of peace with justice prevails for current and future generations. Despite our stated commitment to justice, we recognize that since our inception we have made unconscious decisions that sustained racial and other inequities. We are learning now how to be actively anti-racist. We have always stated that militarism and wars abroad are connected to racism and inequality, yet we failed to systematically integrate analysis of those connections and into our work and therefore failed to thrust our power toward eliminating racism and White Supremacy. Our stated solidarity with the struggles for racial justice demands introspection.

We are in an intentional and ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) journey that cuts across internal practices and policies, external practices and impact, and program and content development. Our DEI journey will be with integrity, intentional, and with accountability yet take place at an unhurried pace. We will make explicit actionable commitments and hold ourselves accountable.

Why the War Prevention Initiative, if our focus is on peace and security?

Racial justice needs to be better tied into the peace and security and security frame, not only through genuine solidarity but as a reference point for analysis and action. Different forms of oppression and the struggle for racial justice affects us organizationally, the programming we’re doing and the networks we engage in. We cannot ignore the reality and separate a war/peace/security/conflict transformation focus from racial justice and other forms of oppression if we want to remain relevant. The field we are in is in a phase of awakening and taking a new shape and we have an opportunity to actively contribute by being responsive to the reality. That means we must question power dynamics in our own community of theory and practice. Who is seen, who is heard? Who sets the tone?

The War Prevention Initiative is broadening its programming in an intentional way, where racial justice becomes a lens through which we view issues of demilitarizing security and managing conflicts without violence. We aspire to articulate the intertwined issues of racism at home and abroad through the lens of militarism. We aspire to intentionally elevate the voices of BIPOC scholars and practitioners in our Peace Science Digest as well as making research at the nexus of racial justice and political violence accessible, understandable, and useful.

Avoiding pitfalls

  • We will avoid checkbox DEI (DEI Light) and DEI busywork.
  • We will not try to change everything at once.
  • We will avoid tokenism.
  • We will not make promises we can’t keep.
  • We don’t expect a pat on the back or “job well done”.
  • We will not burden BIPOCs to fix the problems.
  • Take concerted action. We will make commitments and follow through. Balance the tension between “unhurried action” and sustained inaction.
  • We will not stop at “consciousness raising” at the expense of working for structural change.[1]

Commitments

The War Prevention Initiative is committed to maintaining a work environment that is built around DEI and where power sharing is emphasized over organizational hierarchies.

We will work with an external consultant to guide us on our DEI journey.

We intentionally will make conferences and events more diverse. To do so we will spread the word beyond our usual networks, we will consider diversity from the get-go, provide meaningful opportunities for participants, and make intentional choices about catering (BIPOC owned businesses) and food/drink selections (vegan). [2], [3]

We will conduct a systems analysis to uncover how inequity, racism, White Supremacy, and other forms of oppression impact the landscape of peace and . Racial justice and injustice and White Supremacy will be added as units of analysis in our work.     

We commit to actively participate in reimagining the peace and security field guided by our sign-on to the letter “Standing Together Against Racism and Discrimination” by Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security & Conflict Transformation.  

Generate outputs (e.g. Peace Science Digest, public communication, briefs, events) that address issues of militarism, racial justice and White Supremacy

We will intentionally consult with and cite diverse experts in peace and security.

Bi-monthly meetings to discuss anti-racism literature and pathways for integration into programming and operations

Develop monitoring plan to track our progress on DEI, commit to transparency by sharing our progress

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/your-anti-racism-books-are-means-not-end/614281/

[2] https://www.fastcompany.com/90431222/5-things-you-can-do-to-make-your-conferences-diverse-and-inclusive

[3] https://nonprofitaf.com/2020/02/an-argument-for-nonprofit-events-to-be-vegan/