The time to use our platforms and privilege to speak out against the deep racism that plagues our society was years ago. I regret staying silent in those moments. The next best time is now. Silence is harmful because it prioritizes the comfort of those of us who benefit from racist policies at the expense of those exploited and victimized by them.
It’s not enough to simply “do no harm” or “not be racist.” That well-trodden path has produced the same brutal results again and again. At Moz, we’re moving to a higher standard. The creation of a more just world requires us to be loudly, unceasingly anti-racist.
We must acknowledge that human rights exist beyond politics.
We must hear and validate the lived experiences of people of color and amplify their voices.
We must show up.
We must reinforce, loudly and often, that Black lives matter.
This is an uncomfortable conversation for most of us. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, offending people, losing relationships, jobs, customers, and in some cases physical safety. By design, white supremacy has made it uncomfortable to speak out against white supremacy. Fearing angry backlash for speaking out against the risks and injustices people of color face every single day only serves a system designed to keep us silent — a system that has been shaped over centuries to oppress and exploit people who are not white. At Moz, we will practice the courage to speak out and show up for love and justice. Maya Angelou said wisely, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
Today, we express solidarity with Black people grieving the losses of David McAtee, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many, many others. We share and honor the outrage rippling through our country. We stand with you and we stand for justice and love.
We want to amplify the signal of inspiring people doing powerful work. Activists like Rachel Cargle and her work on The Great Unlearn project. Resources like the Intentionalist, an online directory that allows you to discover and patronize diverse local businesses in your community. Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race illuminates the harsh reality of police brutality, inequitable mass incarceration, and other lived experiences of Black people in the United States and gives us tools to talk about race and racism. EmbraceRace is an organization focused on helping parents, teachers, and community leaders raise children to think and act critically against racial injustice. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist asks us to think about what an anti-racist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. Ross Gay’s poem, A Small Needful Fact, is a powerful memorial that says so much in a few beautiful words. I invite everyone to re-read or listen to Martin Luther King Jr.’s full Letter From a Birmingham Jail. His statements and questions are heartbreakingly relevant today. May you be moved beyond thought to action, as we are.
Be well and love each other.
Update 6/4/2020: We’ve heard your concerns and questions about what steps Moz is taking to address racial injustice. In writing this post, our goal was to support the cause and the Black voices that deserve to be listened to, especially at this critical moment. It didn’t feel right to center Moz when the conversation should be focused elsewhere. After listening to your feedback, we realize we missed the mark by staying quiet about our own efforts in this area. It’s important to share not just our words, but the actions that uphold them.
What we’ve done in the past hasn’t been enough. We must improve. Understanding that we have more work to do, Moz also has a history of working toward equality within the tech space.
Internally, we offer support and training to employees as part of our ongoing work to create an inclusive, equitable, anti-racist work environment. All employees are required to participate in implicit bias training, and we encourage Mozzers to take our additional training in Understanding Microaggressions, Owning Our Rank & Power (a course about understanding and using privilege for good), and Allyship.
We partner with amazing companies doing the important work of addressing the root causes of systemic injustice:
- Techbridge provides STEM education to girls from low-income and under-resourced communities. We regularly invite Techbridge classes to visit Moz and learn from women whose work in tech can inspire and energize them.
- IGNITE Worldwide works to improve gender equality in STEM opportunities. Similar to our partnership with Techbridge, we invite IGNITE classes to come to our office and speak with the women at Moz who have forged careers in tech.
- Year Up connects young adults facing social and economic injustice to opportunities in tech that can grow their skill sets and forge new career paths. We’re proud to call our Year Up program alumni colleagues.
- Ada Developers Academy provides tuition-free coding education to women and gender diverse adults, with a focus on those with low-income and from diverse backgrounds and the LGBTQIA+ community. We’ve welcomed multiple Ada graduates into our software engineering teams as full-time Mozzers.
- Un-Loop provides opportunity to students in Washington State prisons, building a path toward careers in web development. Their first program graduate interned with us and we’ve hosted a fundraiser for the program.
- HERE Seattle fosters an inclusive and diverse community in technology. Moz was an inaugural sponsor and partnered on events.
As CEO, I’ve chaired the diversity and inclusion committee in the Washington Technology Industry Association (from which programs like Apprenti launched), as well as lobbied for stronger equal pay laws in Washington State. Twice a year, Moz examines its pay structures by race to ensure equitability, and we regularly review and adjust our hiring practices to increase the diversity of our workforce.
We know we have more work to do. While our gender diversity has increased, we have not made substantial progress on racial diversity. In the coming weeks, we’ll share an update on what further steps we’ve taken to support the Black community — both in this time of crisis and in an ongoing capacity. To hold ourselves more publicly accountable, we plan to create and maintain a page on our site that gives transparency to the actions we’re taking.
For now, though — today, this week — we want to share our support for the cause of equality and leave space for Black voices that need to be heard.
Editor’s note: We’re disallowing comments on this post to make sure the focus remains on the problem at hand: the indiscriminate mistreatment and murder of Black people in the United States. In addition, we will be forgoing our typical publishing schedule to make space for the more critical conversations that need to be held.