By Nathan Hughes, Co-Founder and Chief People Officer
This week my company is amplifying through our social channels Black leaders who are speaking out and teaching about anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and police brutality.
We’ve never used our platform in this way before, but we chose to do so in this moment. Not because this time is different, but because it isn’t — and it won’t be, without systemic change. The lives of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were cut brutally short; they are the most recent on our mind, far from the first, and they will not be the last. There will be more names until we dismantle the white supremacist systems that form the foundation of this country, and dispel the anti-Black racism that so casually infects our culture. It rings hollow to say that we work to build an equitable and inclusive organization when we know Black people can’t walk safely in the world.
The enormity of the task makes our efforts seem terribly small. But we understand that doesn’t absolve us from action. To that end, we’ve shared a public statement of solidarity and support and are using our platform to amplify Black voices. We are acknowledging the pain of our Black team members and offering paid time for them to rest and grieve. We are educating ourselves, sharing openly with our team, and acknowledging when we make mistakes. We are holding space for our team to reflect and support one another. We are financially supporting organizations working toward justice, equity, and liberation. We have committed to investing greater resources in diversity, equity and inclusion, especially improving our diversity of leadership, hiring experts to assess and improve our hiring practices, and establishing an ongoing relationship to provide executive coaching and support to our leadership team. Perhaps most importantly, we continue to listen to our team, and are practicing engaging, asking, making safe, and affirming our desire and need to hear what our team is saying.
We came to these initial actions through much discussion and intense back-and-forth. We struggled with whether to say anything at all, and then with what to say, and how to say it. We were anxious, worried about appearing disingenuous, preachy, or trying to sell something. We are choosing to risk mistakes in our public messaging instead of the silence waiting for perfection, because in this case silence is complicity. Even when clumsy, our actions have been received by our team with grace and welcome.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) We will visibly stand for transformation, justice, and equity, and lead with our words, our hearts, and our actions.