Statement by UN Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens on Racial Injustice and Inequality in the United States of America, A Moment of Choice for Every American

June 1, 2020


Megan Rabbitt

In the last week, the United States has experienced a nationwide eruption of pain, anger, and grief on a scale that has not been seen for over fifty years. Millions of people have taken to the streets across our country in peaceful protest over the latest killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, and the long, grievous history of racial injustice that continues to stain our communities and our collective conscience.   The COVID-19 pandemic has only further exposed just how deep that injustice and inequity goes.

This is a moment of choice for every American. The racial injustice, inequality, and divisions that are tearing us apart can only be overcome by all of us, and a task that must unite us in urgent and common purpose. It will not be easy. We will need to confront hard truths. We will need to look in the mirror as much as at each other. And we will need to stand together, shoulder by shoulder, to be the people that current and future generations want and deserve us to be.

In this time of anguish and anger, I return to the idea at the center of the United Nations: that we can correct our worst behaviors and be better than our past.  The UN is anchored in a faith in “the dignity and worth of the human person” and the possibility of a brighter and more just future. At the United Nations Foundation, we work on global issues, but our values are universal, and they extend to what happens right here at home, in our own organization, and in our communities.

The UN Foundation will always be unwavering in its commitment to equality and dignity and always determined to oppose injustice in all its forms.  We stand with those determined to end the legacy of continuous violence against Black people. We stand with those whose lives have been ravaged by racism and injustice.  We stand with those who are peacefully standing up for what is right. We stand together.