Statement on Recent Events
It has been difficult to process all of the events that have occurred over the past week, particularly given that we have been collectively experiencing a global pandemic and home quarantines for the past several months. We are in unprecedented times.
I want to say some things very clearly. The recent killing of George Floyd was horrible and unjustified. The video of his death will remain etched in the memories of the millions of people that watched it. Unfortunately, he is just one out of countless Black people over the years who have lost their lives unnecessarily or suffered from racism, discrimination or violence. Black Americans have a right to be angry.
We absolutely support the right of all Americans to protest peacefully and express their views. As a company that cares deeply about people, we have a responsibility to speak out against racism, inequality and hate which have no place in our society – not now, not ever. At the same time, I am saddened by the physical violence, vandalism, and theft that we are seeing in our cities, but that should not dilute the message of the protests.
While we don’t have all of the answers for how to fix this systemic problem within our society, I am determined to do more, and there are a few things that we can do as a company in the near future.
A couple of months ago we indicated that we wanted to address Diversity & Inclusion within the company. I’ll be honest and say that, given Covid-19 and everything else that has transpired over the past few months, we have not yet focused on this. But, there is no better time than now to bring this to the forefront. Some can say that it is reactionary to address it now. My view is that this is exactly the point.
We are forming a Diversity & Inclusion Council, similar to what we have done with the Engagement Council. The purpose will be two-fold: (1) further efforts around diversity within our hiring practices and organization overall and (2) determine ways for System1 as a company to contribute externally to combat the systemic oppression and racism that exists in our society. From my perspective, this effort should not only address racism, but also women’s rights and inequality, and other forms of bias and discrimination.
For those of you who have already indicated an interest in participating in this group, Beth will be scheduling a kick-off meeting next week. Anyone else who is interested in joining, please let Beth know via Slack or email.
Secondly, System1, with the support of the Blend Family Foundation, is pledging $50,000 to support organizations that are doing important work to improve diversity education and address implicit bias within our communities and social injustice. We have ideas for organizations to support but want to hear from you as well. As such, we’ll be circulating a quick survey to gather your input. Separately, we are also raising the company donation match amount to $2,000 annually for any employees who would like to donate to qualified non-profit organizations (i.e. 501(c)(3)’s) that you support (or have wanted to support). Beth will re-circulate instructions on the matching program.
Change comes from within and from all voices. We are committed to creating a company where everyone is seen and heard. We welcome ideas from each of you as to how we can be part of the solution. Our actions can and will make a difference.
We understand that these are very difficult times emotionally and are affecting everyone differently. Clearly, no one is left untouched by the events of the past week and by the ongoing impact of the pandemic. System1 is here to support you in any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the leadership team if we can do anything at all to help and support you through these challenging times.