This statement demonstrates Common Cause’s commitment to building a more equitable, inclusive, and accessible workplace and to fighting for a democracy that truly works for everyone. The version below was written with input from all staff and approved by the National Governing Board on March 11, 2022.
At Common Cause, racial equity and inclusion must be at the core of what we strive to be, as must equity and inclusion for all individuals across identities and differences (ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religious beliefs, tribe, caste, age, class, thinking and communication styles, etc.). These values are essential to successful execution of our mission to create an open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promotes equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empowers all people to participate fully in the political process.
Common Cause acknowledges painful truths about our nation’s history and present reality, including the centrality of white-supremacist violence, slavery, genocide, dispossession of indigenous people’s lands and resources, and colonialism to the United States’ first century of existence, and the perpetuation of structural racism through Jim Crow laws, military and police violence, eugenics, restrictive voting laws, and other discriminatory laws and political structures. Institutional and individual racism continues to impact and oppress Black/African Americans and Indian/Native Americans in particular, as well as Latinx/Hispanic Americans, Asian, Native Hawaiians, Middle Easterners/North Africans, and others today. Racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, misogynoir, religious bigotry, and oppression of anyone not sharing the identities of our nation’s “founding fathers” permeate our centuries-old political, legal and social institutions and intersect in ways that compound inequities for those with multiple marginalized identities.
Common Cause’s mission is not only one of fixing broken systems of governance but also, and more importantly, changing inequitable systems that are working as designed to prevent a democracy that works for everyone. We are not “restoring” or “rebuilding” a democracy but, rather, striving to create a truly representative and inclusive government for the first time.
We know that in order to succeed in our mission to co-create an equitable government that serves all people—real democracy—we must include the varied perspectives of our diverse society within our organization. We understand that diversity alone is insufficient; without equitable inclusion of diverse perspectives within Common Cause’s National Governing Board, state advisory boards, management team and every department of our organization, we will fail to effectively combat inequity in the world.
Recently, Common Cause has taken proactive steps to engage trained professionals to guide our conversations, undertaken a full review and audit of pay, and a full review of staff benefits. We have made significant changes to pay, policies, practices, and procedures, brought new members to the Board of Directors, and have hired a new Vice President of People, Equity, and Inclusion. We have made strides in improving staff and board diversity, which while not the same as achieving equity, can be useful as a benchmark of progress. We are working to apply equity and antiracism lenses to all our membership building, organizing, policy, communications, legal and other programmatic work and exploring new campaigns to combat racism and other inequities.
We acknowledge that we urgently have more work to do in order to build an equitable organization and are committed to that work. We also acknowledge that equity is not a destination but a journey that we will continue to follow as it is central to our mission.