Statement of solidarity from the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge

June 6, 2020

The UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge unequivocally stands with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Our team shares in the world’s collective outrage and grief at the violent, senseless murder of George Floyd as well as numerous others, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Botham Jean, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown—many by those charged to protect them. These horrifying acts tragically demonstrate the everyday danger of being a person of color in the United States. While our Constitution enshrines the ideals of equal protection and equal justice under law, the waves of protests in the past week show that both equal protection and equal justice remain aspirational for a significant part of our society.

The work ahead is to acknowledge and dismantle the systemic racism that is woven into the fabric of our society. Changing ourselves and the system we have built to achieve equal protection and justice for all is itself a “grand challenge.” Embedded deep within this system are numerous environmental disparities that disproportionately impact the health and quality of life in communities of color—further exacerbating racial inequity.

In early March, we shared an expanded vision for the next chapter of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge. This vision includes a commitment to making Los Angeles the most equitable megacity in the world.

We cannot begin to build a sustainable future if all people do not have the same basic right to life and freedom from oppression, violence and discrimination.

In solidarity,

Eric M.V. Hoek, Director, UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge
Cassie Rauser, Executive Director, UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge