As we approach the end of 2020, I can’t help but reflect on the recent protests that have sparked a long-overdue national conversation about police brutality, institutional racism, and economic disenfranchisement of people of color. These protests were inspired by the murder of George Floyd in May, along with the killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Modesto Reyes, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, at the hands of the police.
Since protests began in the early summer, there has also been an apparent awakening among corporate America to the many ills of structural racism as evidenced by bold statements asserting their anti-racist corporate policies and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. As a Black executive in the tech industry for the past 25 years, the outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the plight of African Americans in this country has been incredibly emotional, powerful, and encouraging.
I have always believed that actions speak much louder than words. I also know that the fight for racial justice and economic equality is more akin to a marathon than a sprint. The issues that gave rise to George Floyd’s death and the subsequent BLM protests will be here long after I am gone and will likely persist through the end of my children’s lifetime. As such, the actions that we take to help dismantle systemic racism and economic apartheid are just as important as the statements we make. At Torsh, we have engaged in this struggle since our very inception. The choices we have made, the people we have hired, and the customers we have supported are a testament to our belief that diversity matters, and every company should strive to reflect the ethnic and racial makeup of the communities they serve.
The recent protests and the accompanying acknowledgment by corporate America that it needs to be a part of the solution somehow feels different this time around – it has empowered many of us to become vocal advocates for racial justice, economic empowerment, and anti-racism. As I engage with our employees in the difficult conversations about how our company and the services we offer can continue to promote anti-racism at every turn, I realize that this is an opportunity to engage with a range of new partners to push this difficult work forward. We don’t have it all figured out, and engaging with new organizations does take time. However, we are committed to the fight and invite our community of customers and employees to join us as we use our voices and resources to build a better, more equitable, and anti-racist future for our children.