In 2020, a widespread protest movement has emerged, clearly and loudly demanding greater racial equity through systemic change. This protest movement is in line with the core mission of AAUW: “To advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.” How are these two aligned? AAUW’s central mission statement implies a focus on ALL women and girls. To achieve this mission, we must demand greater equity for Black women and girls.
At the national level, AAUW has acknowledged that the organization has historically fallen short of this goal, as it has lacked diversity and inclusion in leadership, membership, and focus. AAUW has taken concrete steps to create organizational change, to better address their mission of serving all women.
Individual AAUW members can also take concrete steps to make sure that the inclusive mission of AAUW is made into a reality—here with a specific focus on racial equity for Black women and girls. One way this can be done is through white members learning about and engaging in anti-racism and white ally-ship.
Anti-racism is the active practice of calling out racism when it is encountered, which may include having uncomfortable conversations about race and racism in everyday life. Non-racism, the internal and often silent opposition to racism, is positive, but it is not enough to create necessary change. Related to anti-racism is white ally-ship. White allies are people who make the long-term commitments and efforts necessary to recognize their racially based privilege and who continually work in solidarity with oppressed groups engaged in institutional and political struggles for justice.