From the desk of Nancy Parrish,
Founder and CEO of Protect Our Defenders
Here is a quick update as we find ourselves at the center of the national conversation on the horrific effect of systemic racism on Black Americans and our country.
Our work to create lasting, transformational culture change by ending misogyny and discrimination at the world’s largest workplace – the U.S. Military – is gaining substantial ground. This spring we successfully took on the Pentagon for covering up racial disparities in military justice. The publication of our Racial Disparities report on May 27 created a firestorm.
And just last week, our president, Col. Don Christensen, (ret) USAF appeared before congress, providing damning testimony on the cover up before the House Armed Services sub-committee on Personnel led by Chair, Rep. Jackie Speier. You can watch a video of the congressional hearing on C-SPAN.
“The military has a long and painful history of mistreating racial minorities…and a long track record of doing nothing. Black service members have continued to be prosecuted and punished at a much greater rate than their White counterparts; they suffer lower promotion rates and are vastly underrepresented in the officer corps.”
– Pres. Don Christensen
“I hope that all our military leaders in the room are prepared to acknowledge the need for a recokoning and prepared further to institute measures to fix the inherent bias in the military justice system.”
– Rep. Speier
BLACK SERVICE MEMBERS SPEAK OUT: DEMAND CHANGE
“I am Kaleth, I am a Black Man who happens to be Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. I am George Floyd…As I struggle with the Air Force’s own demons that include racial disparities in military justice…and clear lack of diversity in our senior ranks…I can only look in the mirror for a solution…I along with every other leader across the force, am responsible for making sure that becomes a reality.”
– CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright
“This report affirms that I wasn’t crazy and that the discrimination I endured was the experience of so many. The reality is that the rules don’t apply the same if you’re Black. I hope this report helps bring in a new era in the military, where the next generation of Black service members are able to thrive.”
– Darchelle Mitchell, (ret) YN2 USN
This summer we will keep up the pressure. Earlier this year, we successfully engaged all presidential candidates to upend the status quo. All but one – Donald Trump – pledged to end commander control over the justice system. Soon we will undertake a campaign pressing all candidates for federal office who have not yet joined the effort to do the same.
We’ll keep you posted. And as always, thank you for investing in real, transformational change.