Black Lives Matter.
The roots of systemic racism and oppression in this country are long and deep, reaching into the foundations of our structures and institutions. Those centuries of injustice have led to Black Americans being twice as likely to be killed by police, and twice as likely to die of Covid-19. We’ve reached a critical point, where the pain, suffering and anger of communities of color is visible to all, but none of this is new. We need significant change, which is only possible when there is collective action. White people, in particular, have a duty to step up. To not act is to be part of the problem.
The recent police killing of George Floyd was just one piece of a cycle of violence and racism that is all too familiar in this country. Forum One stands in solidarity with the Black community in condemning police brutality, and in calling for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee and countless others who have been the victims of racist violence.
I’m personally contributing to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, and Forum One is matching staff donations to social justice organizations up to $5,000 and encouraging engagement with Black-led organizations and initiatives. We’ve also encouraged staff to take additional leave as needed to care for themselves, their families, and their communities.
These are short-term actions, however, and there is no short-term solution. This work must continue to be central to how we approach our work and relationships, even when it’s not in the headlines. We recognize that systemic racism is embedded in our society and, as a result, in our work at Forum One, we are taking a hard look at the ways it shows up in our own institution and the work we do.
We’re continuing the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion effort we launched a year ago with dedicated staff hours and budget. This includes unconscious bias training for the whole team, revising our company core values to be more inclusive and equitable, training our design team in inclusive design practices, and implementing changes to our recruiting, staff development, and promotion processes. We are focused on creating more equitable internal systems, opportunities for meaningful action, and ongoing education on racial and social justice for our staff.
For 24 years we have partnered with mission-driven organizations to amplify their voices and platforms, and we have a responsibility to our partners, our teams, our industry, and our society to approach that work with an anti-racist and justice-focused lens. We have a responsibility to our staff to create a company culture that makes that possible, and to our community to ensure our actions match our words. We take these responsibilities seriously.
Chris Wolz and the Forum One team