A Plea for Action
By choosing to not take action on behalf of the Black community, you are choosing to say "we don't view your struggles as our own". In situations like this it's important to know where a company stands. Many companies have used social media to show support, but have done little else. What does this say to your Black employees? Whether you chose to address these issues or not, it's an added burden.
We don't get to claim we care and not back it up in any meaningful way. We need to do more, we need to do it consistently, and we need to communicate about that process publicly.
The Black Lives Matter movement is not divisive, nor is it political. If anything, it's a statement of unity. A statement that we will no longer allow Black Americans to be treated differently, to be marginalized, or to be brutalized and murdered by police. If a house is burning in your neighborhood and you do nothing, you are still responsible for the destruction and harm caused by that fire. When a house is burning we do not say, "but what about my house, doesn't it matter too?". Right now the Black community is burning, are we going to remain silent?
I hope you're a company of openness, transparency, and empathy. I hope you're a company made of up of very intelligent and caring people. I hope you strive to have the best understanding and come at problems fully equipped. I hope you recognize your dead-angles and work to improve your understanding. I hope you care.
What I ask is that you please first get more information, use data, and seek consultation on these matters of diversity, inequity, and bias before you decide to take a stance of silence.
I understand this is uncomfortable, but it's the smallest fraction of discomfort compared to what Black people face every single day.
My ask is that we put as much effort into educating ourselves about this as we do about technology choices and business strategies, and come up with concrete steps to act against.
If you've made it this far, I implore you to check out the resources and action ideas below. 👇
- Be there for your existing employees, often times in D&I initiatives, little is done to help the Black and POC employees already working at your company
- Allow team members to donate hours to causes of their choice
- Donation matching to a list of approved charities (medical aid, bail funds, etc)
- Provide education budget for learning material such as books
- Use your social media platform to share content from Black and POC community members
- Use your platform to share vetted resources for how folks can get involved
- Teach employees about the power of voting and encouraging others to do so. Here are some resources/links available:
- bit.ly/BlackLivesAction - Documented resources and actions one can take on an individual or organizational level
- https://bit.ly/bailfundslegalhelp - a list of bail funds nationwide
- Support Civic Hack Organizations
- Support skill based training organizations such as HacktheHood
- Support need based community programs
- Seek D&I consultation
- Provide anti-racism training to management and any interested team members
- Increase or provide referral bonuses for Black and POC candidates
- Awaken: https://www.visionawaken.com/
- Vaya Consulting: https://vayaconsulting.com/
- Kim Crayton: https://twitter.com/KimCrayton1
- Turner Consulting Group: https://twitter.com/DiversityMusing
- TMI Consulting, Inc: https://twitter.com/tmi_consulting
Written by Kurt Kemple, who lives and works in Virginia Beach, VA.You should follow him on Twitter