During these last few weeks my emotions have run the gamut from anger, to sheer disbelief, to anguish, to frustration and more recently hope. As the world continued to mourn George Floyd’s murder and the police continued to react to peaceful protesters with unjustifiable violence, I participated this past weekend in an eye-opening rally in Palo Alto, California that was organized by four teenage students. There is no question that racism is debilitating and dangerous, and I stand in complete solidarity with the Black community. Black lives matter and we must fight for justice and equality because it will liberate us as a society. We cannot and should not deny the pain and despair of the Black community and we must take concerted action to drive positive change. At the rally, it felt like there was a growing acceptance of the need for us to own the failures of our country and society without making excuses.
The horrific death of George Floyd and the saddening use of racial biases by Amy Cooper to threaten a black man are sickening reminders that race continues to drive how black people are treated – consciously or unconsciously.
We can do better, I can do better, and we must all do better.
I subscribe to Gandhi’s idea that the law of averages moves a ball forward on any issue in society. This is the reason he drove the non-violent salt march to the Arabian sea – Salt Satyagraha – he got the average Indian aware of the problem of the inequality created by the salt law and helped Indians move from awareness to action. Given the catalytic incidents of the last two weeks, there is no question that the we must defeat inequality and systemic discrimination. This also means that each of us has the responsibility to take several steps further to improve the average and move the ball many steps forward on the issue. Awareness, education and understanding are more important today than ever because the recent breakdowns in our society represent a new call to action to make things right.
For me it starts with learning and better understanding my own blind spots. I am including some of the resources that I have been reading and listening to so I can better understand and do better. Also, I believe we can’t wait for the perfect solution or the silver bullet; there is a lot we can do personally and as a business. Here are a few things I am going to do:
- Learn and grow: build awareness individually and collectively as a family.
- Participate: I have been a Big Brother and a math tutor for children in East Palo Alto (more infrequent in recent years) since 1991 through the local YMCA. It is time to prioritize this activity more meaningfully and get more involved. I have pledged my family’s involvement with the Eastside College Preparatory School and as a family we will participate with time and monetary contributions.
- Help drive change: As I was raised by parents that spent their lives protecting people, it was shattering for me to see a law enforcement officer kill George Floyd in what felt like a lynching. I am going to work with local leaders and congressmen on building awareness and support for the important initiatives outlined in the #8cantwait project focused on 8 policies to restrict the use of excessive force by police.
We can also do more at Bugcrowd. In the near term, we will:
- Donate to Black Lives Matter in the name of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others.
- Create a Diversity and Inclusion task force and action plan and provide transparency of our progress by the end of July.
- Remove all names of candidates and their colleges from resumes before they go to managers for selection.
- Institute a more balanced talent acquisition process at Bugcrowd where we must put forth intention to source and interview diverse candidates for every open position and provide transparency to the organization of our progress and impact.
- Enable our team to spend 1% of their time (~2 hours per month) to be a mentor, do informal informational sessions, tutor, and speak at predominantly black neighborhood schools. This is incredibly important for black students everywhere and they will welcome it. We are speaking to one of the Founders of the East Side College Prep and Bugcrowd will partner with them to enable any Bugcrowd employee who wants to get involved.
- Sponsor internships and involvement with students from our Black community. We will reach out to schools and actively source resumes.
This is just the start of what we need to do as a company. We at Bugcrowd know that this is not just a moment, but a movement to which we are committed. Now is the time to take actions that will result in sustainable change.
Black lives matter. We at Bugcrowd stand in solidarity with the Black community and all of those who fight against systemic racism and injustice.