She+ Geeks Out was founded around feminist principles, and to be clear, our feminism is intersectional. We won’t ignore what is going on around us, because we are part of the problem and (hopefully) the solution.
Many of you may be hurting, grieving, raging, exhausted, feeling trapped, and helpless. We see you and we are with you. The protests and resulting violence that have escalated in the past few weeks and through the weekend to today is the result of deep-seated systemic racism in action, and people rising up against it to say: No. We’ve had enough. This is not right. We won’t take this anymore.
These protests are not a one-off, and there is no ‘return to normal’- we are realizing in real-time that we all have a part to play in dismantling the systems and structures of oppression. If you’re thinking that this has nothing to do with you, or if you’re hoping this blows over soon, or if you’re not aware of why or how we’ve reached this point– then please take some time to look at the READ and WATCH resources below, because there is work to do.
Silence is complicity. Silence is not an option for us. Inaction is not an option either; we are actively anti-racist. On the first day of Pride month, we also remember and recognize that Pride commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which were started by Black trans women and Black drag queens.
We stand in solidarity with #blacklivesmatter. If there is no justice, there can be no peace.
A Message to Leaders
If you are a leader (senior leader, C-suite, manager, etc.): you have an important part to play as well. Don’t expect work to be business as usual. Give space to your employees, but particularly your Black employees, to process what is happening. This space might look differently for different situations, but could include giving folx time off, pushing out deadlines, or giving them their own virtual space internally to do with what they will (and don’t intrude on this space).
Check in on your employees, but don’t expect anything in response. This looks like the following: “no need to respond, but I value you and am here to support you.” Don’t ask or expect your Black employees to perform their grief for you. They are not your teachers, they do not have an obligation to share if they don’t want to. In the same vein, check in with your Black employee resource group (‘ERG’) leaders– see what they need, if anything. Remember that it’s not their job to manage the team or the company through what’s going on right now– it’s your job.
Name what is happening in front of the entire company, and don’t just couch it in vague terms. Be specific and name those who have lost their lives to violence: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and so many more. Now is a time for empathetic leadership. We are not robots, we are human beings. Let your staff know what mental health resources are available for them, and encourage their use.
Actively acknowledge your privilege, and share how you are going to address it. Donate (and don’t forget to include the processing fee). Speak up. Be present. Model your own vulnerability. Lean into your own discomfort. It’s ok to not have all the answers, it’s ok to not have the perfect words, and it’s ok to still be learning. But above all else, do something.
In the words of Toni Morrison: “If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
As a B Corp, we donate to a variety of organizations including Direct Relief. Starting today, we are also donating $500 to National Bail Out, and will be donating a percentage of our proceeds from all of our corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings to them through the end of this year.
Resources to Help
This is not an exhaustive list- if you have more resources to share, please let us know and we’ll add them in.
The Atlantic: The American Nightmare– Ibram X. Kendi
Between the World and Me– Ta-Nehisi Coates
How to be an Antiracist– Ibram X. Kendi
I’m Still Here– Austin Channing Brown
Just Mercy– Bryan Stevenson
Me and White Supremacy– Layla F Saad
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness– Michelle Alexander
So You Want to Talk About Race– Ijeoma Oluo
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir– Asha Bandele and Patrisse Cullors
White Fragility– Robin DeAngelo
White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism– Paula S. Rothenberg
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? – Beverly Daniel Tatum
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race– Reni Eddo-Lodge
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race– Jay Smooth TEDx talk
National Bail Fund Network (there are bail funds across the country, find one that is in your city)
Mental health resources
Other ways to help