After a week in which the entire country grappled with the merciless and heartbreaking murder of George Floyd, it’s clear that we are experiencing an awakening–as individuals, as companies, and as a society. As Jenna Wortham wrote in the New York Times on Sunday, “This is the biggest collective demonstration of civil unrest around state violence in our generation’s memory. The unifying theme, for the first time in America’s history, is at last: Black Lives Matter.”

At Bugcrowd, we stand in solidarity with the Black community and all of those who fight against systemic racism and injustice. And we realize that we need to be doing more to promote racial equality. This cannot be viewed as a moment in time–it must be embraced as a movement that will require sustained and thoughtful effort to effect change.

As a fundamental step in this effort, white Americans like me need to understand the role we each play in perpetuating racism–otherwise we will never defeat it. A colleague of mine shared an essay from the writer Scott Woods that lays bare the fundamental issue with the white view of racism:

“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but that is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time you interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it is the price you pay for owning everything.”

White Americans must take action to change the common air we breathe. I pledge to do better. We at Bugcrowd pledge to do better–to start and continue having the difficult conversations that make us uncomfortable yet chip away at the vicious cycle of racism and systemic discrimination.

This is just the start of a long journey ahead. But we owe it to George Floyd and our Black community to drive change. We must awaken and stay awake for a better America.

Black Lives Matter.