AFS-USA Statement on the Murder of George Floyd and the State of our Nation
AFS Intercultural Programs began as the American Ambulance Field Service, a volunteer ambulance corps created in April 1915 by A. Piatt Andrew. In 1947, AFS was transformed from a wartime humanitarian aid organization into a groundbreaking international secondary school exchange, volunteer, and intercultural learning organization with a noble vision: to help build a more just and peaceful world by promoting understanding among cultures. AFS-USA joins the people of our nation and the world who are outraged at the murder of George Floyd and the centuries of discrimination suffered by Black Americans. We support peaceful protests across our nation, and we support individuals and groups such as Black Lives Matter who call for change…for action, now.
Our work that makes intercultural exchange programs possible for tens of thousands of students is a small part of what we all must do, which is to bring people together for purposeful dialogue. We call all people to action, especially our AFS-USA community—former students and their families, host families, volunteers, staff, and others who already understand the power of person-to-person diplomacy because they have experienced it firsthand.
Every one of us can make a change in our world—this is a value that AFS-USA holds dear.
Intercultural education and volunteerism are at the heart of all that we do at AFS-USA. We bear witness every single day at how, by opening peoples’ minds and exposing them to new people, cultures, and experiences, we can change our perspectives and respect and embrace our differences as we foster lifelong friendships.
One person can make a difference. We are grateful to all people in our nation and around the world who are peacefully protesting, speaking out, talking with their neighbors, and sharing their thoughts in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Let us never stop working and speaking-out so that together we will make our world one in which all of us have freedom and equality.
Our organizational mission calls upon us to make the world a more just and peaceful home for everyone. It is precisely in a moment such as this one where each of us, united and determined, can move us closer to the peace and justice that we value and uphold over all else.