All Lives Don't Matter Until Black Lives Matter

Our hearts are heavy with everything that's going on in Minneapolis right now. We are devastated at the murder of George Floyd, and at the continuous disregard for Black lives in this country. We are sad and angry and heartbroken, and we know that it's not about us right now.

Many of our employees live in Minneapolis, and our minds are on their safety and on the safety of our community. We support justice for George Floyd. We stand with our Black employees, the Black community at home in Minneapolis, and across the nation in solidarity today and every day. Their lives matter. Black lives matter.

Words don't effectively convey all that we've seen and heard in our community this past week. We're grateful to foster an environment where all can speak openly and honestly about how they feel and what they experience. We wanted to share this letter that our CEO sent to the company in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, where he references our company’s Guiding Principles: Relationships Matter, Row Together and Seek Growth as we try to move forward as a community.

Hi team.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon the death this week of George Floyd, as the proximity of this latest senseless act generates its waves of grief, anger and fear in Minneapolis and beyond.

First off, thank you for the very real conversations in the #minnesota Slack channel. I was reminded of our guiding principle of Relationships Matter; we create trusted spaces where people can bring their whole selves - authentic and diverse. I was proud to see that in the postings today and want to thank you for making yourselves vulnerable so that we all may have greater empathy and understanding. We don’t need the effects of this tragedy to be compounded by our social isolation. I am here to listen, and any member of our leadership team is here to listen, to create venues for whatever emotions are coming up.

I am generally hesitant to talk about injustices of which I have no full ability to comprehend. I know that I don’t understand the fear that communities of color experience and I won’t ever. I don’t carry it around everyday while pursuing a passion like bird watching or going for a run around my neighborhood. I don’t worry about my children in the same way as so many parents of black and brown children must. I don’t carry that generational burden that is the legacy of racism in this country. But I am a part of this community.  And just as we talk about rowing together at Drip, we also need to row together as a community. As a citizen, I want this city - this country - to be built around a strong community for all, to seek compassion and equity as much as possible. To be peaceful and just. 

The events of this week are tragic. Not just for the singular loss of life, but tragic because of the systemic racism in America. George Floyd joins a long list of innocent Americans who lost their lives to racism. Not to mention the countless other minorities who live in fear, anytime police lights flash behind their vehicle or when they encounter people like Amy Cooper. Living in fear and stress is an almost more horrific sentence.

While feelings of despair and hopelessness are natural human emotions - particularly with everything else going on in the world this year - I encourage you to somehow find the strength and courage to seek growth. To follow the lead of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for going against politics as usual and calling for justice, even when it may not benefit his career. To find community organizations who fight injustice and racism and get involved however you can, even if you have never done so before. To hold each other accountable to learn more from voices of color, even if your ignorance makes you feel uncomfortable. I for one have begun to engage with my community of tech leaders locally so that we can call for action, collectively. 

I am under no assumption that my thoughts written here can make any decisive, lasting change. Dismantling injustice takes more than that. But I do know one thing. Minneapolis is better than this.  We are better than this. Let’s have high empathy for the situation but equally high expectations of each other to do more.

Peace and love,

 

JT