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As the previous Administration is reflected in our rearview mirror, it is ironic that its 1776 Commission chose the official day we honor Martin Luther King, to publish a racist, inflammatory report discrediting schools applying a more accurate history curriculum around slavery in the US. For it too, like the closed-minded thinking behind it, is a relic of the past and one that can’t fade from our view fast enough. We agree with the American Historical Association that the report only serves to “elevate ignorance about the past” and that it belongs in the dustbin of history. In fact, President Joe Biden is already scheduled to issue an executive order to dissolve the Commission.
In his inaugural address, President Biden has proclaimed “a new day in America,” and it is indeed a time for us to move forward and accelerate the historical shift taking place in this country. The American Anthropological Association remains committed to the change we have yearned for, many of us have campaigned for, and that we will take up and integrate into our future. We will continue to move anthropology forward as a leader in anti-racist teaching and learning, as a science committed to illustrating the importance of equity to the future of humanity, and our belief in human rights as the basis for our work.
We once again call on our colleagues to apply our professional research, scholarship, practice, and teaching by participating in overturning the deeply entrenched institutional sources of inequality that are barriers to a more just and sustainable world. Diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion are an integral part of what it means to be human and what needs to become “systemic” in our society. We must do better and we can do so together.