Form a More Perfect Union
A statement on racism from Reach CEO Greg Biersack
Reach was built on the principles of opportunity, respect, and equality for all. Every employee must be provided with a fair and supported opportunity to succeed. Every employee must be treated with dignity and respect, as we are all God’s children. And every employee must receive equal and protected treatment. Reach must strive to be a tiny microcosm of what our country can be at its very best. A country that is "more just, more equal, more fair, more caring and more prosperous"1. This great country is only possible if each person and organization sees it as their responsibility to end discrimination and injustice and work to form a more perfect union.
For centuries the scourge of racism against our black brothers and sisters has been an ugly stain on our country. Although progress has been made to reduce discrimination and racism, our country has not come nearly far enough. America continues to tolerate racism and is yet to achieve treating all people with equality and kindness. It is horrible that the deaths of more unarmed black citizens must serve as the catalyst for protests against police brutality and injustice. And it is understandable that the fear and anger the black community feels, and has felt for years, should spill over into demands for change.
I feel that to move our country toward greater perfection and to solve the tremendous challenges we face we must rid ourselves of racism and lift every person up. As long as racism, discrimination and inequality divide us and reduce the contributions of every citizen, our greatness will be extremely limited. We must act now to challenge our attitudes, our leaders, our policies, and our practices to make lasting change in our country.
As individuals, organizations and companies there are three important components to what we must do to drive real change: Reflect, Seek to Understand, and Act to Drive Lasting Change.
Reflect on Your Thoughts
Every non-black person in our country, particularly white citizens, should spend time reflecting on their feelings, attitudes, and behaviors. Do you have racism in your heart? Do your behaviors, either overt or unintended, reflect a racist nature? Be honest with yourself as your fellow citizens and our country are counting on you to play an important role in transforming our society.
Seek to Understand
If we take time to better understand how our black brothers and sisters feel and what they experience, it will give us a chance to live and act with greater empathy. This may come in the form of a conversation with a friend or colleague, reading or watching an editorial, or listening to a podcast. For me it started by spending time with my friend Jettie who told me about her experiences. She shared her feelings of fear associated with doing everyday things like shopping, parking, driving, and dating. Each story made my heart sink further and further. She is a wonderful person with a beautiful family. It is completely unacceptable that the treatment and actions of white people make her feel the way she does.
Please seek to understand as this will help you to be a more empathetic person and to drive you to make positive change in our country. One of our partners, Hubspot, has put together a list of resources to support in strengthening our understanding. I encourage you to use this. https://www.hubspot.com/en-us/allyship-resources .
Act to Drive Lasting Change
Every person in our country has the opportunity and responsibility to play a part in eliminating racism. Each person can treat others with dignity and respect. Every person can play a role in protesting or voting, which will drive scrutiny and reform of our police and justice systems. Each person can be part of addressing inequity in our education system to give all students an opportunity for academic success. Every person can play a part in making sure all citizens are counted and given the opportunity to vote. Finally, each person can work to ensure their company, non-profit, or civic organization is free of racism where black employees and members are provided equal pay and equal opportunity for hiring, advancement and leadership.
As a leader at Reach and within our community, I have a responsibility to reflect, seek to understand and act to drive lasting change. We must commit to ending racism in our country and to forming a more perfect union.
1. Presidential Candidate Barak Obama, More Perfect Union Speech, 2008