IAIR Statement of Empathy and Engagement:
Supporting “Black Lives Matter” and Working Together to Overcome Racism
June 15, 2020
Beyond global concerns about Covid-19, recent events remind us that too many people worldwide are still threatened by persisting pandemics of racism, ethnic profiling, and excessive violence. George Floyd’s murder is one more tragic reminder of the destructive impacts of racial discrimination.
We affirm that “Black Lives Matter” everywhere and stand against all expressions and symbols of racism, discrimination toward any social-cultural group, and systemic, targeted, or acts of injustice or brutality toward the vulnerable anywhere.
As members and fellows of an academy drawn from diverse interdisciplinary backgrounds, we stand for responsible, engaged scholarship and informed, nonviolent agency that facilitate greater intercultural awareness toward social and psychological changes in intergroup attitudes and actions based on our collective work.
We acknowledge that beyond the cognitive or behavioral, culture is deeply affective. Each day’s news elicits a range of responses, from disbelief, to anger, to frustration, to empathy, and beyond. As an academy, we affirm emotions and cultural initiatives that help us to stand with the vulnerable and victimized.
We seek to understand your standpoint, share your pain, and conduct research that informs educators, policy makers, justice systems, and any institutions or individuals who can promote equality and fair treatment of people.
We urge you to join us to stand together in the urgent tasks of addressing this painful gulf, resisting the “isms” that tear us apart, bringing people of diverse cultures together, and bridging those gaps with shared human care and concern as interculturalists.
The IAIR Executive Committee
Steve J. Kulich, PhD, President (2019-2021)
Adam Komisarof, PhD, President-Elect (for 2021-2023)
Kenneth Cushner, PhD, Executive Director/Treasurer
L. Ripley Smith, PhD, Executive Secretary
David Sam, PhD, Past-President (2017-2019)
Nan Sussman, PhD, Past-President (2015-2017)