For many generations we have long lived the history of systemic oppression, stereotyping, and stigmatization of black and brown people all over the world. The moment is upon us requiring a meaningful and robust focus from all leadership in governments and corporations to lead and address systemic racism, and we must do it now, and be held accountable by our communities. For these reasons, the World Tourism Forum Institute understands the need to protect and address all forms of racism, and therefore we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
As a tourism institution, we know that tourism as an industry is the best manifestation of race and cultures in all of it splendour, and a celebration of diversity of the human race as ONE society, and ONE people – but we must do it better, and take bold strong actions – not just words. Until and unless you live and experience discrimination, of any type, it is sometimes hard to imagine the lifelong scars and damage it can cause to one’s psychic.
We recognise that it is our role to provide leadership in this area, and we are fortunate to be placed amongst the generation, which maybe the one to be remembered in history, as the one that finally managed to do something positive about it. Unfortunately, this moment has been triggered by the loss of one single life over a mere 20 Dollars, George Floyd, who even during his last breaths remained respectful “Sir” to his oppressors. To his family we say that his death is not in vain, and it now is the catalyst for this tsunami of change that was unimaginable just a few weeks before!
Let’s together imagine a world free of racism, free of violence and free of bigotry of all forms. Not a small feat but if we can reimagine and act together, Mr. Floyd will be remembered gently by history, for being that unspeakable ‘change’ that the world so craved but did not find till that unfortunate ‘moment’, brought upon us, through his violent death. And if we do nothing, we risk letting this opportunity and his memory fade away, like so many before him.
We realise that as a Global organisation there is important urgent work to be done. We must listen, we must learn, and we must commit to long-term change to drive equality.