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WESST’s Statement on Racial and Economic Justice

We Have to Talk about Systemic Change

WESST shares the grief and anger felt across the nation and stands in solidarity with the Black community. Silence is acceptance and WESST does not accept the injustice and racism that permeate our society. We strive to make our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion clear in our work with small business owners each and every day. Black Lives Matter, and we are compelled to add WESST’s voice to the chorus calling for justice and to state our enduring commitment to these values.

WESST was established in 1989 to be part of a growing effort to combat systemic discrimination by supporting and empowering diverse small business owners pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. We are proud of WESST’s impact across New Mexico, and we will commit even further to our mission supporting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and Immigrant small business owners to help bring an end to systemic racism. We know we can do more. People of color own half as many businesses as non-minorities and their businesses start and stay smaller in comparison. WESST will take actionable steps to combat the system that results in poorer outcomes for entrepreneurs of color. We look forward to clearly communicating and implementing these actions in the coming weeks.

The title of our statement is from Angela Davis, and is a chapter title in her book, Freedom is a Constant Struggle. In this writing, Davis reminds us that throughout history, we’ve seen mass movements like the one we are witnessing in the wake of the horrific death of George Floyd bring about systemic change. The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act happened as a result of people marching and organizing. Right now, each of us must look inward, as organizations and as individuals, to recognize and embrace our unique role in advancing these mass movements forward. WESST affirms its commitment to anti-racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and systemic change for the benefit of underrepresented entrepreneurs, and all BIPOC.