Our employees are deeply outraged and saddened by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This senseless death, along with the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, was rooted in the deep racial biases and inequities ingrained in society, culture and institutions.
We are appalled by the pattern of police abuse and murder of African American men and women. The data are staggering and unassailable. African Americans are 30% more likely to be pulled over by the police, 250% more likely to be killed by the police, and are incarcerated at a rate 500% higher than Caucasian Americans. Furthermore, in several southern states (Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia), more than one in five voting age African Americans are ineligible to vote due to laws linking voting eligibility to criminal history.
Millions have protested globally. Many of our team members have been part of those actions. Many of these protests have been in the United States, but many as well were held in cities around the world.
Police brutality is just one of the many forms that discrimination takes and has taken. Other forms can be less visible, but the damage that they do is profound. Further, prejudice and inequality are global issues. Racism and other forms of discrimination are global issues affecting every society.
As a team, we want to be a force for change in the United States and in all of the places we do business. We’ve spent the last week assessing how to implement concrete steps to make things better. Here are some of the actions we are taking:
First, we have communicated to all our employees that if they are finding themselves particularly affected by the current situation, they should speak with their manager or our People Success team, so we can make any appropriate accommodations that may be helpful. Further, Partnerize continuously engages with a company called Sanctus, a mental health coaching service, to provide additional support to employees.
Second, we are ZERO TOLERANCE on any action, behavior, or policy that discriminates against an individual based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical challenge, faith, or any other dimension. We must never allow or tolerate any action, attitude, or behavior that detracts from our commitment here.
Third, as a company, we will also develop and publish written policies as regards diversity and inclusion, including:
- Implementing a measurement program to assess our recruiting, hiring, and retention programs to ensure we hire a diverse workforce and create an inclusive culture that respects and celebrates every individual’s right to be treated equally.
- Publishing our commitment to diversity and associated policies publicly and frequently reviewing them to ensure we do all we can in this critical area.
- Defining and implementing hiring policies that prevent unintentional discrimination
Fourth, we will be creating a global diversity and inclusion team with members from all of our offices to help guide us in taking more proactive steps to building the best company and culture for everyone.
Fifth, to give all of our team members the opportunity to contribute to social justice in their communities, we will be devoting our next Giving Back Day to serving organizations that can contribute in this area. This Giving Back Day will be scheduled shortly.
Sixth, we are currently reviewing employee suggestions for other efforts and organizations we can support to combat inequality.
These steps are a foundation on which we will build.
As a country, city, community, industry, company, and as individuals, we have to do better. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others have made it abundantly clear that we must do our part to be intentional to address the long-held inequities in society, our workplace, and in the tech community. We are committed to being a force for change in each of these areas.
Malcolm Cowley is the CEO of Partnerize, which acquired BrandVerity in May 2020.