Black Lives Matter.
For most of us, when we heard those three little words for the first time, our reaction was “of course they do – don’t all lives matter?” I have to admit, in 2013 when the Black Lives Matter movement began, it took me a little bit to understand why it was so important to emphasize the word “Black” in that statement. Yes, all lives do matter, but not all lives have been the subject of systemic racism. Not all lives have been suppressed and subject to open, lawful segregation until just a generation ago. Not all lives were lawfully traded as property and made to work as slaves as part of our country’s recent history that goes back only 150 years!
Only Black lives were.
And today, we see countless examples where our Black brothers and sisters are not treated the same. From everyday walks in the park, to going out for a jog, to a routine traffic stop, and even to a criminal arrest, black human beings are not treated with equality and respect that should be extended to all human beings. That is systemic discrimination.
Without recognizing the problem, we cannot fix it. Saying Black Lives Matter does not mean you don’t care about other lives. Recognizing systemic discrimination does not mean you deny the existence of other problems. Sympathizing with or actively protesting peacefully does not mean you agree with or accept violence and looting. These actions are simply acknowledging an important problem that needs to be addressed.
As a company, we have a special responsibility to let our team and our customers know where we stand. Our stance affects how our organization operates and the values it promotes. We stand for equality and justice. We stand for peace and love, not violence. And most importantly, right now, when we recognize true injustice, we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. A peaceful movement to help end systemic racism towards Black people.
Many of you will respond to my letter with “stick to making software” or “keep your politics out of it.” Some of you will be angered to the point of wanting to terminate your account. I understand. We will miss you.
If you want to contact me, you can find me on Twitter @hamids. I’m happy to take your comments, reactions and concerns there.
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