Black Lives Matter. That’s a complete sentence as it stands, and it’s not open for argument, rebuttal, or expansion (if “all lives matter,” we wouldn’t need nationwide protests to recognize the value of Black life).
There are no words strong enough to condemn police brutality and racism. Words do not fix systemic, institutionalized racism. Words cannot return the lives of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor (who would have been 27 today) and the countless others who have been killed by police who were supposed to protect and serve their citizens. Words are insufficient.
But silence is compliance, and neutrality favors the oppressor. hasOptimization supports equality, justice, and freedom for all people. We further recognize that some people, and especially Black people, have been underserved, oppressed, treated with violence, and killed for nothing more than being who they are. We make a point of saying that Black lives matter not because other lives lack value, but because Black lives have been so systemically, aggressively, horribly undervalued.
hasOptimization is my company and it is my responsibility to ensure that this company both has an ethical stance, and backs it up with actual work. When we launched our current website, we added a mission statement page to collect our statements on social justice and diversity, an effort the entire team participated in. My staff and I donate regularly to organizations that work to protect rights, freedoms, and social justice. We write, call, and otherwise engage with our political representatives. We march, protest, and stand in vigil in support of these priorities. This company and this team stand in support of Black Lives Matter.
We have spoken a great deal this week, as a team, about our commitment to making this world a more just and equal one. As an employer, I want to additionally state my commitment to supporting my team members’ rights to protest and free speech: I will personally bail out any member of my team who is arrested at a protest or otherwise exercising their right to free speech. No one will lose a job at hasOptimization for exercising these rights, ever.
We are also committed to equality in hiring and pay, and as we grow I know that we have an increasing responsibility to build an increasingly diverse team. As a small step towards this (while we are not actively hiring at this time), I’ve added a statement to our careers page explicitly inviting applicants who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color).
I also want to recognize the barriers facing Black-owned and other marginalized-people-owned businesses; therefore, I am also re-committing to offering a 20% discount off our current hourly or project rates for those businesses.
I also want to commit, personally and as a company, to continuing to listen to BIPOC, learn without demanding labor, and seek out more opportunities to act in support of my–and our–ideals. I hope that you will as well.