ORS Impact News

The ORS Impact team has earned a global reputation for leadership, insight and innovation. We work collaboratively with our clients, bringing our distinctive expertise in planning, measurement and evaluation to their most vexing challenges.

Solidarity & Commitment to Action: Black Lives Matter and ORS Impact

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee.


These people are among the many who should be alive and well within their communities right now.

Violence against Black communities is not new; it has been cultivated and enabled for centuries by the actions and inactions of White people. White supremacy, which is embedded in our culture and systems, favors Whiteness over the lives, well-being, and protection of Black people. We are not immune in the Pacific Northwest. It might be comforting to think that local police are different, but the killings of Charleena Lyles and Manuel Ellis and others by police in Washington state clearly show that the systemic atrocities we see at the national level are mirrored locally. We are part of systems that perpetuate these killings, and we have a lot of work to do to become an anti-racist society.

On December 13, 2016, we released our first company statement standing in support of racial equity. At the time, we were responding to the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police. We spoke up because we wanted to publicly stand in support of racial justice, and thus ask our community to hold us accountable; to no longer be complicit in our silence and take the needed actions to combat racism, and specifically anti-Blackness, in our organization and in society through our work. Nearly four years later, we are reckoning with the reality that not much has changed.

It is heartbreaking, enraging, and sadly predictable that we are compelled, again, in 2020 to speak up forthrightly and without equivocation: Black Lives Matter. Black trans people, Black women, Black men, Black people with disabilities, and any other intersectional groups.

We cannot ignore the call for justice and the movement calling for the overhaul and analysis of unjust systems. These recent murders have refocused our collective attention, but, in truth, the systems of racism, oppression, and anti-Blackness were just as toxic two weeks ago. Two years ago. Two hundred years ago. Fundamental change is way overdue, and we stand in solidarity with protestors and Black Lives Matter in demanding systemic and institutional change.

We took a moment before publishing this statement to care for our staff, to allow time to reflect on how we can help fight White supremacy and to march, pray, and cry. We know that making a public statement isn’t the end of the road. The real fight lies ahead and will be won or lost based on the actions that we, and the many others committed to this fight, collectively take to push for change. This isn’t a sprint. It isn’t even an ultra-marathon. This is the work to undertake: a life-long journey to dismantle the systems of oppression—the mindsets, policies, practices and more that lift up some and hold back others—so that all people truly have equitable opportunity, power, and outcomes.


While statements are important, it is much harder (and more important) to make bold changes and act in alignment with our words. Every day.


And we commit to continuing this work.


We recognize that as learning partners, we have the responsibility and unique opportunity to model anti-racist behavior and uplift the voices of those most impacted by racism. We are leveraging this moment and the current momentum to have conversations we might not have had, to act with more conviction and urgency, to hold the line where we have faltered, and to reflect on the ways we can continue to be better and do better in combatting racism as an organization, as a field, and in our own lives. As systems-level evaluators, our work should be uniquely attuned to helping clients work through this disruption to the status quo of systems.

While we have been working to change our practices and policies for a while now, we are not perfect. We will falter. At the same time, we cannot let perfection stand in the way of progress. We will share what we learn with the field to help advance practices like Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Equitable Evaluation. And we will hold ourselves accountable for creating processes and products that help organizations reflect, learn, and gain insights to advance racial equity in systems through power sharing, inclusive decision making, and more equitable policies and strategies.

Join us. Hold us accountable. Let’s work together to see a future where Black Lives Matter, and our society truly celebrates, respects, and protects Black People, Indigenous People, and all People of Color.

In solidarity, 

The ORS Impact Team


P.S. This Friday we will close our office in solidary with the Black Lives Matter Seattle King County call for a general strike and protest march. If you are in the area, we encourage you to join in.  We will also be following up to share more about our internal efforts to be anti-racist so that we can hold ourselves accountable, learn from others, and help others advance in their own organizational journeys.

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