From: Mark Harris
Sent: Friday, June 5, 2020 2:25 PM
Subject: Words & Actions
Hey all -
Like you … myself and others on the leadership team have been reflecting on all that’s happening across our many cities and every media channel (social or otherwise) in existence. What comes next should go without saying, but in this moment, it’s important for any community to say it out loud, to confirm that we all agree: The killing of George Floyd, and the context of pervasive racism that enabled it, is profoundly, fundamentally wrong. Others will say it more eloquently, from a position of greater experience. But this toxic, often violent racism suffusing our culture is tragic, it's intolerable, and it has to stop.
This feels to many of us like a moment of lasting change in America (and possibly elsewhere in the world - the statements of support from our teammates in Wroclaw today were incredibly timely and appreciated!). What we don't yet know is whether that change will be toward equality and progress, or authoritarianism, division and decline. And it's because we don’t yet know whether the change will be good or bad that we have to speak, and we have to act. We have to declare ourselves in the direction of the good, and we have to commit to act on those beliefs. Even just normal people, like all of us.
So after the words, what do we actually do?
As a company, we have to push ourselves every day to become a better, stronger, more deliberate and focused force for equality. That means reinforcing and accelerating the work of our people teams, doubling down on our Diversity and Inclusion efforts, revisiting our recruiting processes, our vendor relationships, our corporate citizenship. Becoming part of the solution will demand years of sustained energy, long after the quiet and distractions of daily work and life are restored, and that’s what we have to expect of ourselves.
As individuals, we have to push ourselves every day to put our shoulders into the moral arc alongside community leadership. We have to internalize the slogans we espouse and transform them into new instincts we bring to every aspect of our lives - calling out racism, fighting actively for equality and representation.
Two days ago, I had a high schooler say to me that you’re either actively and outwardly against racism or you’re for racism – there is no middle ground, meaning that if you’re neutral or silent then you’re enabling all of the pain and violence. Of course that is the case but the simplicity of that idea makes it powerful. When it comes to racism, we are always making a choice.
Last, in this moment, when words are insufficient and while our opportunity to prove that our commitment is real and lasting still lies ahead of us, we can at least donate support to the front lines. The entire leadership team has committed this week to donate personally to organizations we believe represent our values, which so far include Equal Justice Works, ActBlue Bail Fund, NAACP Legal Defense, Black Futures Lab and Campaign Zero, among others. Let's think of it as a small down payment on the important work we'll do next.