The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is a horrible crime. The officers on the scene need to be held accountable. This type of brutality against Black Americans has repeated itself over and over for years. Black Lives Matter and we can’t be a nation where all people are created equal unless we recognize, confront, and eradicate racism.
We’ve been living with structural racism for over 400 years and Black Americans have battled against (and continue to do so) institutionalized obstacles. Black Americans experience life in an entirely different way than others. Everyone plays a role, even if they don’t know it. Part of white privilege is the privilege of “not knowing” and it needs to end now.
Racism and bias are much too prevalent, including in corporate America. This is unacceptable. Justworks is committing to:
- Training our people to actively combat racism. More than just “bias training,” we need to actively undo racism. Everyone at Justworks will complete the initial phase of this training in the next 30 days, with ongoing reinforcement thereafter.
- Matching employee donations 2:1 to Black Lives Matter, Know Your Rights Camp, and Campaign Zero, or another related cause of the employee’s choice.
- Waiving 12 months of Justworks admin fees for newly formed Black-owned businesses so that we can help them get started. Offering a discount to all Black-owned businesses no matter when they were started.
- Fostering a culture of belonging, acceptance and love. Maintaining an open dialog with our employees and helping them feel safe in sharing their experiences. Our leadership team is making themselves available to all of our employees to listen 1:1. Experimenting with other forms of shared space so that employees feel safe and heard no matter how they prefer to communicate. Staying connected to what everyone on our team is experiencing and acting on that feedback. Our first survey will be in the next 15 days.
- Creating space for our own employees to get together, grieve, and heal. Space means the venue, time, and priority; other things will have to wait.
- Making our leadership ranks and company as a whole more diverse and inclusive. Reporting internally, and on a weekly basis, the diversity of our recruiting pipeline. Partnering with other organizations to ensure that we have a diverse pipeline for every role. Taking a close look at all of our hiring practices and training our hiring managers to eliminate bias. Ensuring that Black employees have a solid career path at Justworks.
- Encouraging and expecting our employees to take time off to recharge, protest, or for any other reason. Closing Justworks on Friday, June 5, 2020, so that our entire team can do just that.
- Refusing to do business with people who harass, intimidate, bully or abuse our people. Encouraging our people to speak up about misconduct and not tolerating retaliation.
- Expanding the scope and influence of our DEI team, and growing the team. Posting the first job online in the next week.
- Compensating our Employee Resource Group (ERG) leads for the additional work that they are putting into our company, effective June 1st.
- Incorporating this action plan, and other actions that we identify, into our goal-setting and accountability (OKR) frameworks.
- Amplifying our black-owned business customers.
In addition to these actions, which are things that we will do within Justworks, we also call on President Trump to stop making public statements which divide people and incite hatred, and instead to use his presidency to bring our nation together and promote reconciliation.
We call on Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.
We call on state lawmakers nationwide to compel police departments to adopt reforms and enact policy changes recommended by the 2015 report of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing commissioned by the White House.
Finally, we call on New York State lawmakers to repeal section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law which prohibits inspection or review of police officer personnel records without their consent. Governor Cuomo has indicated that he would sign this into law.
We all need to listen carefully to each other, and to our fellow Black Americans in particular. Our nation and our people are angry, frustrated, sad and hurting. Until we begin to truly take steps to show that we hear, we will not be able to begin healing.
The Guide to Solidarity is an open, collaborative list of resources for you and your team.