Statement on the Atlanta shooting from Acting Director Carol Spahn

March 19, 2021

The murders of eight people in Atlanta this week—including six women of Asian descent—have shaken the Peace Corps community, particularly those of us who identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander. The persistent rise of violence, discrimination, and racism against members of the Asian community is unacceptable, and is antithetical to the mission of the Peace Corps.

One of the first things Peace Corps volunteers learn is that cross-cultural understanding is what leads to a successful service. Acceptance and celebration of each other is one way we can begin to heal the divisions that exist in our country and our world. This is what we are called to do now.

To members of our Peace Corps family who are hurting or afraid, please know that you are seen, supported, and valued. We could not do the necessary work of promoting world peace and friendship without the perspectives, talent, and humanity you bring to our community.

As we plan to return volunteers to service overseas, I am mindful of the vital work we must do to ensure a safe and equitable future for all of our volunteers, staff, and community members. It is absolutely essential that our systems and culture within our agency reflect our core values of celebrating differences, building relationships, and fostering belonging for all.

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of the United States to work with communities and create lasting change. Volunteers develop sustainable solutions to address challenges in education, health, community economic development, agriculture, the environment and youth development. Through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans of all ages have served in over 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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