Black Lives Matter: Allyship, Antiracism, and Leading with Values
Last updated: February 8, 2021
As a B Corp that believes in business as a force for good, and as a proud worker-owned cooperative, PixelSpoke stands with the Black Lives Matter movement. We simply cannot stay silent as our country contends with the tragic deaths of Tony McDade, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more over the years whose lives were taken far too soon.
Silence is in and of itself a privilege, and it’s one that we cannot afford. We’ve been heartened to see other companies speak up, including larger corporations that have not historically led with their values or been particularly transparent about their own lack of diversity on their senior leadership teams.
Making a public statement is an important first step, but if these statements only end up getting buried on company blogs, we cannot claim as a business community to have done our part. At PixelSpoke, we recognize that we have much more work to do. We don’t have all the answers. Listening and learning is an ongoing pursuit, and one we must never lose sight of.
As a worker-owned cooperative, we at PixelSpoke have a unique opportunity to offer a direct path to ownership to people who have historically been sidelined. We were drawn to the cooperative model because, as The Nation points out, “The equity principle of worker-owned cooperatives could be especially crucial for communities of color, as a path toward expanding community investment and closing the abysmal racial wealth gap.” In fact, according to the 2019 Worker Cooperative Economic Census, 58.8% of worker owners in the United States are people of color, and 62.5% are female.
Yet despite our efforts to date to improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion internally, our small but mighty team remains disproportionately white; our co-owners and top-level leadership team are all white. We recognize that we still have a long way to go when it comes to our DEI goals.
As always, we look to our core values first to help guide us to the next step in our journey of allyship and antiracism, which we hope looks something like this:
Everybody Wins: We will do the hard work of building partnerships that help ensure that candidates from diverse backgrounds know about our job openings and are encouraged to apply. Everyone who joins our team feels included and heard.
Solutions not Blame: We take ownership of problems. Our white teammates in particular accept discomfort when confronting issues of racial inequality, and avoid being overly defensive. We don’t back off from hard topics because they may cause conflict.
Improve Every Day: We always look for what we can start, stop, or continue doing to improve. As long as systemic racism persists in our society, the status quo is never enough.
Enjoy the Journey: We actively cultivate gratitude and joy, for ourselves and for others without forcing a culture of “fun.” We recognize when our colleagues are facing barriers to enjoying the journey, and we support them in whatever ways we can.
Curiosity with a Purpose: Constant learning is the fuel that leads to understanding. We will actively seek out perspectives of Black people and other marginalized communities, and we will center our conversations around these voices. We know there is always more to learn.
Authenticity: We never discourage our teammates from bringing their whole selves to work while respecting their privacy. We are transparent about where we as a company need to improve, and we are genuine in our commitment to allyship and antiracism.
Businesses can be powerful allies for the Black Lives Matter movement if we not only speak out, but also recognize the ways we have fallen short when it comes to supporting Black employees and Black people in our local communities. Change doesn’t only happen in the streets; it can start at our own companies. Let’s leverage the true power of business as a force for good.
PixelSpoke Co-Owners Cameron, Ula, Dave, Nancy, and Fitz
… and the PixelSpoke team