Path Forward: Our Commitment to the Movement for Black Lives

We’ve been quiet on here since last summer. We wanted to take some time to reflect on our engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement, and to advocate for it through various channels. As we prepare for the year ahead in the midst of white supremacist uprisings, we’d like to share our commitments to honoring the social justice movements around us, including and especially the movement for Black lives. It’s past time we made these commitments public.

It’s been over six months since the police murdered George Floyd. The whole world watched as he became yet another victim of a racist system that was designed to not only permit, but facilitate, violence against Black people. Protestors took to the streets to express their righteous rage and sorrow, only to encounter further police violence amid the half-hearted promises for reform. Just this month, we witnessed the contrast between the treatment of Black, Indigenous, PoC, and otherwise marginalized protestors in 2020, and white insurrectionists attempting to overtake the US Capitol in 2021.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and countless others were murdered in the US, where most of our team lives. But the movement for Black lives is global. It requires us all to consider the ways in which we’re individually and collectively combating systemic racism, and the ways in which we’re complicit in upholding it.

Over the past six months, we’ve asked ourselves hard questions about our work. And we’ve found that a lot of our answers come up short. We’ve listened to and learned from movement organizers and activists who are dedicated to fighting white supremacy inside and outside of organizations like ours. But we’ve also identified avenues to more proactively and explicitly support this and intersecting causes. To that end, and as an accountability mechanism for ourselves, we want to publicly share our commitments for the year ahead.

Combating white supremacy culture inside of Bocoup

Recognizing that anti-racism work must begin internally, we will continue to explicitly combat white supremacy culture within our own organization.

  • We will further refine our Code of Conduct to specifically address both anti-Black racism and characteristics of white supremacy culture.
  • We will pursue ongoing, full-team training on dismantling white supremacy culture, and on identifying and addressing racism in the workplace.
  • We will explicitly incorporate addressing white supremacy into our project lifecycle, from kickoff planning to retrospectives.

Anti-racist technology and safe working environments

With our partners and in our work, we will seek opportunities to build anti-racist technology and advocate for just and equitable spaces in tech.

  • We will finalize and implement the project selection criteria we drafted in 2020, which seeks to align each of our projects with our perspective on social justice broadly, and anti-racism specifically.
  • We will proactively seek opportunities in the spaces we work — including with clients, in web standards, and in open source projects — to build and promote equitable workflows, and to amplify voices of historically underrepresented populations.
  • We will work to center the expertise and lived experiences of people of color in the design of processes and technologies to which we contribute.

Direct BLM support

We will tangibly support the Black Lives Matter movement through our time and resources.

  • We will honor our commitment to Black Tech for Black Lives by making annual financial contributions to and amplifying organizations committed to combating systemic, anti-Black racism. (As reference, in 2020, we set aside 50% of our profit to contribute to these and other anti-racist organizations.)
  • We will use our platform to advocate against racist technologies, particularly those commonly used by law enforcement (e.g. facial recognition software, and other technologies that automate white supremacy).
  • We will continue creating space for regular Black Lives Matter days of action, when our full team uses our internal BLM Day of Action Guide to promote the movement.

We’re going to resume talking about our work on this blog, in addition to Black Lives Matter. But as we do, we’re also going to critically examine how each project intersects with the movement.

We know there’s nothing we can say that hasn’t been said better, just as we know that silence is not an option. As it is, we’ve been silent for too long. We would love your input as we continue to examine our role in, and solidarity with, the global movement for Black lives.

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