A Message from IIA President Richard Chambers: Standing in Solidarity
Events over the past week have unleashed a torrent of emotion — from deep anger to overwhelming sadness and everything in between — as we reflect on where we are, not only in the United States, but in countries around the world. Even after all the advances we thought had been made, we find that the terrifying ghosts of our past haunt us still. Indeed, racial inequities remain entrenched in our society.
It would be comforting to say “this too will pass,” but it’s not that simple, as demonstrated by the hundreds of thousands of people — young and old; black, brown, and white; and more — who have taken to the streets in the U.S. and elsewhere to say “no more.” Certainly, the horrific and unjustified death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and too many others before him must be confronted. Nothing less than reform, in our policing, in our laws, in the way we interact with one another on the most basic level, must be our singular goal. TV news images of police officers and civic leaders marching with, kneeling with, and embracing protesters offer a glimmer of hope.
As individuals and as part of a global organization, we must seek to understand the greater tragedy of those who are denied the opportunity to achieve their full potential, to walk freely without fear of harm. It is our mission, as individuals and as The IIA, to make things better, for ourselves, for our organizations, for all. Like many of you, I do not pretend to be able to see through the eyes of someone who can’t go for a run or drive to visit friends without fear of confronting unimaginable danger simply because of their race or ethnicity.
But each one of us can commit to embracing the rich diversity within our profession and communities, to lifting up and supporting those who may face challenges through no fault of their own. On behalf of The IIA and its affiliates and chapters around the world, I ask you to commit to speaking openly about the crisis, about the hate that fans the flames of unrest. How do we do this? By respectfully acknowledging our differences while at the same time celebrating the uniqueness of each individual.
We as a profession often talk about courage in the context of creating value for our organizations. Applied more broadly, courage is about doing the right thing, putting your energies where you can make a positive difference, in life and in work, to overcome adversity. We are courageous when we converse openly and honestly, allowing ourselves a better understanding of our shortcomings, of our weaknesses as individuals. That is how, collectively, we will be better and do better.
Our world depends on it.
Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA, CRMA
President and CEO
The Institute of Internal Auditors