The past few weeks have been difficult. Even my attempts to follow a normal routine—work with excellence every minute, make dinner, spend time with family, try to find some downtime each day—have been challenging. I find it unusually hard to focus. Like many of my teammates, I’m so angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, and, frankly, exhausted.
I’m also truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and expression of solidarity. So many people want to make real change in this world and that gives me great hope. I feel strongly that change starts with individuals, but it can also be fostered from the organizations we work for.
At New Relic, we’re committed to taking anti-racist actions across three key areas.
We’re supporting our Black employees
First, we’re supporting our Black employees. They are the ones with the most acute pain within our team. That means providing them resources for dealing with trauma. We want to ensure we continue to have a safe space for them at New Relic. We’ve hosted listening sessions with them that have proved very productive and meaningful. We’re also supporting Black employees (and prospective employees—we’re hiring) by expanding our career development and recruiting programs for Black talent.
Second, New Relic is donating $50k to anti-racist causes with $20k of that through a matching fund that has already been fully met. We’ve also donated $30k to the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit chosen by our Black Relics to support the work they are doing in the Black community.
We’re becoming allies
And, third, we’re educating our employees on how all of us can become effective allies and foster an environment where EVERY employee feels welcome, valued, and equal. Part of that action also requires that EACH OF US becomes better at understanding our bias and how it impacts others. If we don’t see it for what it is, we can’t change it.
It’s not enough to be a good person. It’s not enough to take a neutral stance. We have to move from tolerance and acceptance to action. Neutrality enables the current systemic issues.
What actions can you take?
So, what kind of action can we all take to actively be anti-racist?
- Educate yourself. Take the initiative to learn about unconscious bias and systemic racism for yourself. Don’t look to your friends of color—educate yourself.
- Engage with your friends of color for discussion rather than education. Talk to people about their actual experiences. Listen. And please, no “buts.” No, “But what about Black on Black crime?” No, “But the protests…” Simply listen and learn.
- Donate to the groups making a difference and to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Help to overcome the inequity in education by sponsoring a young person’s dream to attend college.
- Vote. Make your voice heard at the ballot box. Write your elected city/state/federal officials. Ask your local politicians to change the policies that allow injustice to go unchecked.
- Voice your opinion with your friends and family. Have tough discussions. I’m reminded of a quote from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: “There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” This is one of the most important things you can do. Be the consistent voice of opposition to racism and racist thought.
- Attend ally skills training your company may offer. At New Relic, we offer all employees a workshop focused on everyday ways for allies to support people who are targets of systemic oppression in their workplaces and communities, including women of all races, people of color of all genders, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ folks, and others.
We must all commit to being part of the solution. We have the opportunity to create more perfect companies and a more perfect world. We can’t just wish for it though. What we practice grows stronger.