Movable Ink stands with the Black community and rejects racism in all forms. This is the message I shared internally, at Movable Ink today, and wanted to make available to our customers, partners, and all in our global community. Be well.
I am trying to process the tragedies of the past few weeks. The senseless violence. In the US, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are the latest Black Americans whose lives have been taken from them in brutal and tragic ways. They follow a history of victims who have been murdered, wrongly accused, profiled, and targeted, for nothing more than the color of their skin. Hashtagged names are mourned, remembered, and then the world moves on as nothing changes. I am crushed, saddened, and angry.
I co-founded Movable ten years ago and have been its CEO since the company’s inception. Growing up brown, an Indian immigrant, I received my share of racial slurs. I have been pulled out for special screenings, multiple times, before a flight. I had a former supervisor opine, in front of my peers, about the inferiority of my people as software developers. My parents faced overt racism as they struggled as minorities in a new country.
But anything I’ve experienced is a mere fraction of what the average Black American faces. I never feared for my life when I jogged, walked home from a grocery store, played with water pistols with my brother as kids, or entered my parent’s house through a window because they weren’t home yet. I have the luxury of not fearing police officers. I have the privilege of knowing that if I get pulled over for speeding, my worst consequence will be a speeding ticket.
Black Americans don’t have these luxuries. The racism they face isn’t just from the people they meet, but also from the very institutions they depend upon. Where do you go for help if the system that is supposed to protect and defend you is the one that victimizes you? It is the deepest betrayal and the greatest injustice. Perhaps you don’t understand what this feels like because you’ve never experienced this. That’s okay. But what isn’t okay is ignoring the pain and injustice that our current systems are inflicting on Black Americans. Black lives matter.
Empathy starts with listening. Our Black colleagues are not okay and many are suffering silently. Their community has been hit especially hard by Covid-19 and the current economic recession. The recent killings are weighing heavily on their souls. Our colleagues and friends need to know that they are seen, that we feel the pain of their experience, and that they can count on us. I know that it’s a confusing time and you might not be sure what to say. Offer to listen. We can learn so much about what it’s really like to be Black in America, and what things can’t be taken for granted.
The Black community needs our public and visible support. Silence can be interpreted as apathy. They need to know they are not alone as they fight for justice and equal treatment from individuals and institutions. Make it clear that you are a genuine ally and pair words with action. I, and the rest of Movable Ink, stand with the Black community. We are taking the following actions to be the positive change we want to see in the world.
2. We are setting company-level objectives (OKRs) around diversity, equity, and inclusion and will be regularly reporting progress towards these goals.
3. We are sharing and re-iterating why diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is important to us:
At Movable Ink, we celebrate individuals for who they are.
We embrace diversity as the essence of creative thinking.
We commit to building a culture of inclusivity and broadening ourselves as we learn from one another.
4. We are creating and will continue to maintain a list of reading materials and other resources to help our employees educate themselves about the history of race in the US and its implications in the professional world.
If you find any of these ideas useful, please feel free to take and socialize them within your own organizations.
Finally, I know there are protests across the country to effect change in a deeply-conflicted society. Law enforcement needs serious reform and accountability. But I believe that non-violent protest and civil disobedience earn us the moral higher ground. Opportunists have arrived who are exploiting tragedy for personal gain. Reject them. They tarnish the movement and pull us from the path of justice. I leave you quotes from two personal heroes who fought for justice and strengthened humanity’s moral fiber.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – M.K. Gandhi
Be well and take care of each other,