Our hearts are broken. Our country is fractured. Our leaders have failed to lead. We are hurting and we are confused. But more than anything, we are angry. The past two weeks have been a historic period of reckoning, reflection, and retribution.
We want to talk about the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless others who have had their lives stolen from them, and how Simplecast is committing to show up for the Black community.
We, Simplecast, want to be absolutely unreserved and unambiguous as to where we stand. We stand for equality and inclusion. We stand against racism, injustice, police brutality, and the systemic oppression of Black people. We believe that Black lives, joy, and success matter. We agree that police brutality against any human being is intolerable, and even more so because it is disproportionately experienced by people who are Black.
We delayed speaking out because we wanted to make sure we were in a position to take real, thoughtful action. We wanted to offer our team time for an open dialogue. We wanted to be in a position to put actions behind words. Now that we are speaking, this is our declaration and our path to change.
We build tools that enable marginalized creators to find new communities and success, and, like most media and popular culture, podcasting is deeply indebted to Black creators and Black culture. We recognize that the tech industry, and startups in general, have a serious diversity problem and that, as white leaders in a majority-white industry, it’s on us to create better talent pipelines, recruiting practices, and company culture. Our small team fails to directly represent that perspective–we are 18 people, but none of us is Black. We aim to do better throughout our hiring and recruitment program, with the specific next step of proactively posting our open positions in Black professional organizations and networks. We will educate ourselves and speak up when we misstep, so others in the industry can learn from our mistakes.
We are donating Black Lives Matter and local bail funds across the country. Black Lives Matter’s mission is to build power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe. Bail funds help those who cannot afford bail–disproportionately Black people–avoid extended pre-trial detention. We’re a lean startup, but it is important to put our money where our hearts and priorities are.
We are engaging in company-wide anti-racist and racial justice training. While donating to organizations focused on Black lives is important, it is equally necessary to address racism and implicit bias. We believe it is vital that our non-Black employees are important allies to their Black peers, and to build a company culture where anyone can thrive. This is but one of our first steps.
We are committing time for our employees to march, protest, write to their elected officials about police brutality, make sure they’re registered to vote (and take time to vote), engage in a community cleanup, and tend to their own mental health. Being an anti-racist ally requires continual work, and we are enabling our employees to show up where and when it matters most to them.
We are committing to continuing to support and elevate the voices of Black podcasters and, in particular, independent creators. We do this through research, hosting and sponsoring events for podcasters of color, facilitating networking, and featuring underrepresented podcasters.
We must do better, and we must do more!
If the past few months can be our teacher, may it now be quite clear just how fragile we are. All we have is one another, sharing this tiny, blue dot in the vast darkness of the universe. Those we cling to, and the security we wrap ourselves in, can (and will) be torn from our hands instantly and without notice. We are here for only a short time, so if a pandemic and worldwide protests can give us anything, may we find a new bond of humankind, empathy, compassion, and the burning desire to make this rock a better place for one another.
“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible – even if you’re choking on it – until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands.” –Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LA Times
Let the sun shine bright!
With love and hope,
P.S. If our team can help support the voices of our Black peers through our product and platform, please reach out - we are here to support you.