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.