Black Lives Matter.
By Jason Tan /
12 Jun 2020
Black lives matter.
To need to say this reminds us of a foul, often ignored truth: Black lives haven’t mattered. The violence perpetrated against our Black community and perpetuated by silence, ignorance, and privilege isn’t a new problem. The past weeks’ events are yet another flashpoint of a human rights movement that began more than 400 years ago, long before the horrific murder of George Floyd.
As a first-generation immigrant whose father believed so fervently in the American dream that he did everything he could to help me and my sisters live it, it breaks my heart to realize how this dream has intentionally and systemically excluded Black people. At Sift, we strive for a workplace culture that welcomes people from all walks of life as they are and that actively refutes racist practices, language, and behaviors. But truthfully, we, and I, still have a lot of work to do to realize that vision.
We’re taking a harder look at ourselves and commit to the following actions now:
- We are kicking off an internal listening tour focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will reflect on what all of us across Sift can do to be better allies and commit to further action.
- We’ve invested and will continue to invest in unconscious bias training for our leaders and employees.
- All of our hiring roles require at least one onsite interview with a minority candidate. We will continue this practice and encourage diversification throughout the recruitment process.
- We often bring in external guest speakers. We will amplify more Black and minority voices within our industry and community.
- We will invest in educational tools and resources that will help us all understand and uproot internalized racism and systemic oppression.
- Through personal employee donations and company matches, we’ve so far contributed more than $20,000 to organizations fighting for justice reform and social equality.
- We have encouraged our colleagues to take off Juneteenth to learn, reflect, and take action towards creating a more equal, diverse, and inclusive world.
This is just a starting point and much work remains. As the Black Lives Matter movement receives its long overdue global spotlight, it seems that more people than ever before are choosing to confront reality and enact change—to listen, learn, and work towards the deconstruction of centuries-old oppression that deeply permeates all aspects of our society. I am hopeful that we are seeing a collective awakening unlike any other moment in history. But awareness must be followed with acknowledgement and action. We at Sift commit to doing more. As we learn more from our colleagues and our community, we will continue to share regular updates on the steps we’re taking to effect change within ourselves and in the world around us.
I sent the below note to the Sift team on June 1st.
“…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”
As I see what’s happening in our country today, my heart breaks with grief, despair, anger, and shame. This is not the America we dreamed of. It’s clear that we do NOT have liberty and justice for all. Our country has a deep wound that’s been rotting for hundreds of years. Fixing our nation’s prejudice and injustice starts with acknowledging our brutal history and current reality. Since our country’s paradoxical founding in freedom and slavery, our Black brothers and sisters have been systematically oppressed. We need to confront that racism is still alive and hurts us all. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmed Aubrey. All humans deserve basic freedoms, equality, and justice. Black lives matter. We must do better.
At this point, I don’t have any good answers, just questions. I have a lot to learn about the history that got us here and how to best support our Black community. That said, I do know that to be silent is to be complicit. We must do more. In that spirit, I am contributing to the organizations below, and will personally match up to $200 of your donation if you also feel called to support. Just forward me your receipt. I’m also learning that to be an ally, I must listen to and amplify the voices of those who need to be heard but are often not. Below are some resources that have helped me better understand what’s happening and how I can get involved. If you have other ideas on how we can be better allies, I would love to hear them.
With COVID and now this, I can’t help but worry that we are reaching our breaking point. And yet, despite how challenging this all has been, some in our community are challenged in a way that we won’t ever know firsthand. But I am hopeful that this is the end of one chapter and the start of a better one, for our country and the world. More than ever, I believe in what America can and should stand for. But we have our work cut out to build our dream and the only way through is together, with love.
- For our White Friends Desiring to be Allies
- 10 Steps to Non-optical Allyship
- Trevor Noah’s take
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s op-ed
- Solutions to Stop Police Violence
- History of Racial Violence (be warned – this is highly discomforting. but it’s the truth, and it’s part of moving forward)
- Equal Justice Initiative
- NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund
- Policing Equity
- Campaign Zero
- The Voter Participation Center
- Color of Change
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- National Bail Out
- Reclaim the Block
Jason Tan is the co-founder and CEO of Sift. Fueled by a passion for building great products and amazing teams, he's also held leadership and engineering roles at BuzzLabs, Optify, and Zillow.