The staff and board of the Applied Research Center join millions of Americans and friends around the world in celebrating the historic election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. We are moved and encouraged by the fantastic surge of activism and dialogue that has marked this election season. The electorate’s unprecedented turnout, particularly among communities of color, immigrants and young people, revealed a growing hunger for full inclusion in our political process. Putting the first person of color in the nation’s highest office symbolizes our ability to act together to further our deepest values – fairness, dignity compassion, optimism. The outcome of all that action speaks to the intelligence and honor of the American people.
The electorate’s profound rejection of the last eight years of politics based on division, fear, war and greed creates a whole new space for the racial justice movement. The work before us is to make the institutional and policy decisions that can close the deep racial divides that continue to plague our country. Conservative forces will cast President-elect Obama’s rise as evidence that we have achieved a colorblind society. They will use try to use its symbolism to stop us from building a rigorous role for the federal government not only in protecting people from discrimination, but also in promoting equitable solutions. We’re confident, however, that the nation does not believe that post-racialism has arrived. After all, we know quite well the difference between a great beginning and a satisfying finish.
To help racial justice activists fix our gaze on the end goal right away, ARC will host the Facing Race Conference next week in Oakland, California. To help us stay focused over the coming months and years, we will release at the conference the Compact for Racial Justice: a Proactive Agenda for Fairness and Unity , which will provide a framework for short- and long-term action to guarantee equity and inclusion for all people. Some of our goals will come quickly; others will take years. Whichever the case, we are committed to moving forward with all of you, operating with an inspired sense of possibility that has been a long time coming.