“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it.”
– Michelle Obama, former First Lady of The United States of America
George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Unfortunately, they are just some of the latest Black Americans who did not deserve to die by police or vigilante violence. Racism in America stretches its historical roots to the founding of this country, and while it can be both perplexingly simple and incredibly complex to understand, recent events have brought many of the issues rooted in racism into sharper focus. What’s clear is that the civil rights movement isn’t over.
We have arrived at a turning point in our history, where daily nationwide protests sparked by the torture and the murder of George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that our country is still falling short of that most basic, self-evident of human principles that every person has the same inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What should also be clear is that racial inequality will never go away so long as those who are in a position of power and influence — individuals, organizations, and elected officials — remain on the sidelines, unwilling to make their voices heard and take action.
We’ve seen organizations and companies and individuals of all backgrounds join hands to take a stand, and with America asking us all for introspection and reform, as business leaders, we feel compelled to do the same. Fresh believes that all Black lives matter, and that in this time of heightened awareness around our essential civil rights, we’re committed to improving our diversity, diversity so central to our mission as an innovative organization.
At Fresh, we are responding to our fellow citizens’ call to action by committing to do the following:
- The company and the executives together are donating $10,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and are pledging to match an additional $5,000 of employee contributions to any of the following three organizations:
- We are signing the Black Tech for Black Lives pledge, focusing our efforts on Action Item #4
- Upon schools reopening, we will work with schools in disadvantaged communities to share career development opportunities via an innovation workshop focused on STEM skills.
We know this isn’t enough. As a member of both the tech and design communities, we build products and experiences for some of the world’s top companies, and those products are used by a diverse population, a population we endeavor to understand and respect. In addition to the above, in partnership with our Diversity and Inclusion team, we pledge to sustain our effort to improve our diversity and inclusion by doing the following:
- We’re committed to reviewing and evaluating our hiring practices and goals with the explicit intent to ensure that we continue to build diversity in our workplace, and we will continue to fund D&I initiatives to help us do so.
- We will provide regular unconscious bias training for our executives and leadership team, and for our entire organization with ongoing resources in our Fresh University, where all new team members will also go through this onboarding training.
- We will commit to an annual internship program to recruit diverse technical and design talent from our nation’s top programs across our university systems, including HBCU.
- We will commit to practicing the fundamental concepts of the Rooney Rule for open positions that we are recruiting for.
We acknowledge that we will stumble and need more education and will likely be uncomfortable at times as we become true allies to people of color in this effort. We are committed to having the tough conversations because we know that the new language, principles, and behaviors that will come from those conversations will not only make our team, our company, and our community stronger, but also truly more innovative.
Mere words will remain hollow and perpetuate injustice if they are not buttressed by action. This is a collective effort that requires everyone to have more understanding and participation, not just ignore the pleas of those suffering. We know that the future of America can be a better place for Black Americans and people of color than it is today. And that is the future peaceful America that we want to live in.
— Fresh’s Executive Team