Community is a verb

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Before this year, I’m guessing that most white people didn’t know what Juneteenth was.

Current events might feel new or extreme to some, but we know that for the Black community, today’s news feels all too familiar. This moment is long overdue.

Today, when the very nature of what it means to “serve and protect” is rightfully being called into question, I find myself asking how we as a company can actually serve and protect our Black employees and customers. Which means critically reflecting on our responsibilities as a platform for building community.

I wholeheartedly believe that our team has a unique and timely opportunity to shape the world by changing the way we communicate. Because words and conversations matter. Who’s speaking and who’s listening matters. When given the choice, I personally default to listening. As an introvert, that’s my comfort zone. But I also know that I must speak up when an idea is more important than my comfort.

Racial equity and justice is much more than an idea, or an ideal. It’s an overdue and critical action we must take on with our full attention. Beginning with the education of those who benefit from systems of oppression. Like me. I have a lifetime of learning, doing, and speaking up ahead of me.

Here are some of the commitments that my team and I are making:

  • Creating a culture where Black employees are valued, respected, and supported
  • Identifying, uplifting, and protecting historically underrepresented communities
  • Dismantling systemic oppression in our company and on our platform
  • Building a leadership team and cap table that reflects the diverse culture we strive to create

Living up to the name "Community" is something I do not take lightly. People don't serendipitously stumble into real community with each other. We work at it. We build it. We do community.

We picked Juneteenth to publish this post for two reasons: 1) to celebrate the ending of slavery in the United States, and 2) because the announcement made on June 19, 1865, freeing the slaves of Texas, came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was in effect—reminding us that words and intentions are nothing without communication and action.

Community isn’t just who we are, it’s what we do.

Community is a verb.

- matt
(716) 330-3003

Crowns & Hops
Beny Asburn & Teo Hunter
Founded by Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter. Hunter & Ashburn disrupted the status quo of the craft beer industry, and built a brand that is bigger than beer - Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. Through curated events, content and premium product, Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. is the first ever craft beer brand that bridges communities of color, dope culture and craft beer.
Intersectional Environmentalist
Leah Thomas
IE is a resource + media hub exploring the intersections of social + environmental justice. The platform was founded by environmentalist Leah Thomas, who is based in Ventura, CA. Leah is also the founder of eco-lifestyle blog @greengirlleah.
Arreale Davis
A marketplace for handmade and one of a kind HBCU fraternity and sorority-related goods, with a focus on green marketing and environmentally friendly products.
Lybroan James & Gary Mack
A disruptive EdTech platform that provides training, services and assessment tools designed to help education professionals close learning gaps for underserved students by creating communities and culturally affirming learning environments through equity, innovation and engagement.
OldVine Florals
Itika Oldwine
Since 2017, Itika Oldwine has been creating blooming masterpieces and giving a modern twist to the flowery landscape of LA through beautiful floral designs.
Sip & Sonder
Shanita Nicholas & Amanda-Jane Thomas
The premier destination in Inglewood for creatives, entrepreneurs, freelancers, curators, and everyone in between to simply exist, grab a cup of coffee, connect, create, and put sonder into action. Its mindfully curated coffee and innovative programs and partnerships solidify Sip & Sonder as one of the premium coffee and lifestyle brands in Los Angeles and beyond.
Jennifer Pauline
A Black and Brown centered community and storytelling agency on a mission to amplify marginalized stories. As a support system for creators and founders, it also serves as a lifestyle brand and content platform that sits at the intersection of creativity and well-being.
Danai Pointer
A disruptive fashion and technology platform specializing in custom nude color-matching. Made in Los Angeles by a talented team of women, TruNude’s line includes sustainably made skin tone undergarments (t-shirt bra, bralette, panty) in luxurious, ethically sourced bamboo fabric.
Black Out the Ballot
Jen Bui & Vizion Jones
A Collective of Creatives committed to changing the infrastructure to ensure radical equity, social justice, and financial empowerment for disenfranchised communities.
Honey's Kettle
Vincent & Dr. Arlene W. Williams
This New, Old Fashioned business has been serving up fresh Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken for nearly 40+ years with locations in Culver City, Downtown LA and Hollywood. The Los Angeles food institution also offers hand rolled buttermilk biscuits, kettle cooked fries, locally sourced honey, sweet pickles, Ice-Shaker lemonade, secret sauce, shucked corn, and more.
As the co-founder and CEO of Community, I want to make sure our brand reflects what we truly stand for, not just in words, but in the actions we take. We exist to keep people connected to the conversations that they choose to be part of - we choose to connect with Black-owned businesses in SoCal.  For more information on Community or if you want to hear more from me, feel free to text me: 716-330-3003.

Other Leaders on Community include: Slutty Vegan; UNWRP; We're Not Really Strangers; Bobby HundredsThe Shade Room; Patrisse Cullors; Kerry Washington; and more

- Matt Peltier
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