A Letter From Our Director and Board Chair
2015 was a year of historical significance. We saw progress on the issue of marriage equality, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that marriage is a fundamental right guaranteed to same-sex couples. This ruling came about as the result of a massive movement of millions of people around the world calling for equality. In May, Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si, sent a powerful message calling for intersectional solutions – urging us to tackle poverty and restore dignity to the excluded while protecting Earth, our common home.
We saw the power of movements when we celebrated the ratification of the Iran nuclear deal. When opponents of the deal attempted to undermine it, IPS worked with many of our allies across the country and around the world to defend it. The success of this deal showed us that diplomacy is a viable alternative to military aggression. And in July, some of us were present at the opening of the new Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., – a historic victory shared among hundreds of activists who have worked in solidarity with Cuba, to end the blockade and to normalize relations with the island for more years than they could remember.
We saw the movement for black lives continue to gain momentum across the country. In response, we focused much of our inequality work on examining the relationship between inequality and racial justice with the launch of two new areas of work: the Criminalization of Poverty project and the Black Worker Initiative (you can read more about this work on pages 7-8).
Also in 2015, IPS began a long-term planning process in which we revisited our vision of the world we want to see and planned initiatives for the coming years that will help bring about needed change. And finally, we spent the latter half of the year preparing to move from our offices on 16th Street near the White House to a new and improved space in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The move will bring us closer to other think tanks and to some of our core allies.
At our 2015 Holiday Party, an occasion we used to bid farewell to the treasured conference room mural by IPS board member Andy Shallal, we were reflective. In that room, we talked about the world – the one we dreamed about and the one we wanted to change. As we looked forward to a new office, we recognized that it is also an opportunity to renew our efforts to improve our economic conditions, our environment, and our protection of human rights.
Indeed, as we celebrate the progress we made this year, we are look forward to a new year and a new chapter in our Institute’s history.
John Cavanagh, Director
Ethelbert Miller, Board Chair