CAEL (The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning) exists to create achievable education-to-work pathways for all adult learners. But these pathways cannot be truly open until we recognize, combat, and remove all forms of racism and discrimination. Over more than four decades of championing adult learners, we have developed a keen appreciation of what separates active advocacy from passive tolerance. That mindset starts with acknowledging that you always can do more. Together, we have done much. Our partners in workforce, economic development, postsecondary, and business have helped perceptions of adult learners progress from “nontraditional” to “new traditional.”
But in that same spirit of doing more, we must have the humility to realize our work will never be complete while racism and the inequities it perpetuates exist. Recent events are the latest manifestations of longstanding societal flaws that visit violence, oppression, and other mistreatment upon the vulnerable. We must not overlook opportunities to more tangibly and emphatically connect our mission and work to the broader one of eradicating systemic racism.
Having honest conversations about racism in the world today requires courage, respect, and compassion. Though these discussions are not always easy, CAEL pledges to purposefully confront challenges related to race, color, ethnicity, and their impact on all adult learners.
- CAEL is committed to working harder at being an unequivocally and unapologetically inclusive organization.
- We will look for opportunities to assertively communicate the link between our nonprofit mission and systemic inequity that affects adult learners and their communities.
- We acknowledge the challenges facing our team, partners, neighbors, family members, and friends of diverse backgrounds. These individuals matter greatly to us and to our daily work.
- We stand in solidarity with disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, including movements such as Black Lives Matter, in support of justice for these communities.
- CAEL does not accept or condone racism in any form--either internally or with external partners, clients, and others.
- We believe firmly in the pursuit of justice and are committing individual and corporate resources to this endeavor. For example, CAEL has selected the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) as the recipient of its Strada Education Network directed giving grant, a $10,000 contribution.
- CAEL will require recurrent employee training to foster increased awareness and effectiveness for maintaining an inclusive culture. Topics will include including racial equality, microaggressions, and unconscious bias.
- We are creating a library of recommended media and organizational resources to improve our team’s understanding of racial inequality.
- CAEL plans to ensure language is present in our business agreements to help us better lead by example and reinforce our anti-racism stance.
Because adult learners are the lifeblood of our economy, we sincerely believe that to uplift adult learners is to uplift our community. By uniting in the commitment to empower diverse adult learners of all backgrounds, we are working toward a better future for all of us. And by taking this clear stand on racial equality we are ensuring that we are united in our values. We invite you to join us. Let’s “do more.”