Statement from Mal Coles, Acting CEO


Office of the Chief Executive Officer
April 20, 2021

Statement from Mal Coles, Acting CEO

Today, the nation learned of the verdict convicting former police officer Derek Chauvin of murder on all counts in the death of George Floyd. Regardless of the verdict, we recognize that the struggle for racial equity and equal justice in our society has been going on for our entire history and will continue.

Horrific acts of hate transpire seemingly every day and these events can cause untold fear and anger for our BIPOC friends and loved ones who are seeking the simple safety many take for granted. Positive encounters with those sworn to serve and protect have eluded countless underserved communities for far too long.

At AmeriCorps, we strive every day to create that equitable, just world that everyone deserves, no matter the color of their skin. We stand with our Black leaders, members, volunteers and the entire Black community in recommitting our efforts to use national service and community volunteerism to bring us together. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Harris Wofford placed service to others above all else. At this critical moment, we need to keep asking “Life’s most persistent and urgent question: ‘What are you doing for others?’” (Martin Luther King Jr, Montgomery, Ala., 1957)

What are we doing for others?

Together, we must recommit to own the leadership role of national service and community volunteerism in guiding the country toward a more just and equitable society: For those who serve, for those whom we serve, and for one another. We must own this responsibility.

My call to action for every current member and volunteer, to our 2,000+ organizational partners, to our 1.1 million alumni, to our regional and national staff, and every one of our tireless advocates is that we ensure every action we take in service to our country remains steadfast in its responsibility to building more equitable and just communities.

As we continue to process the onslaught of horrifying events taking place in neighborhoods across the country and the generational wounds they inflict upon families, communities, and our nation, I offer some poignant guidance that recently was shared with me:

  1. Always seek to understand and acknowledge the lived experience and feelings of others;
  2. Create spaces for you and others to say, “I am not’s the reason why”, therefore normalizing empathy in our culture; and
  3. To hold onto whatever light you can, believing that even in the darkest of moments, it is the light of kindness, service, empathy, and love that will heal us in the worst of times.

We are and will always be stronger together.

In Service, 

Mal Coles
Acting CEO