At Popular Pays, we sent a note to the team today echoing the content below and we spent some time reflecting on everything going on. It felt strange to try to work like normal today when people in our cities across the US are in so much pain.
Most of everything I’ll say about this has been said by many people already, most of whom are more eloquent or qualified, but there’s value in simply taking a stand, stating what we believe in, and seeing what we can do to be a part of the solution. We all need to be a part of the solution.
First, the murder of George Floyd was unjust and wrong, and we fully support holding the officers involved accountable, which unfortunately almost never happens in the US today. But George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor are not isolated incidents. Their deaths and countless others make up a much broader pattern in the US, going way beyond police brutality and extending deep into our justice system and society.
Protesting these systems of inequality is good. There have been many great and peaceful protests across the nation. The situation gets complex with riots and looting, which is the language of the hurt and unheard and something we should understand, but looting can hurt people who were already disadvantaged and it can potentially be used against good causes by those who seek to undermine them.
Importantly, we need to ask ourselves, what can we do to help? Focusing on the ways to be a part of the change versus commentary on the tactics of today seems to be the most productive. Protests raise awareness and communicate frustrations but the underlying systems need to be addressed too. It has been helpful for me to think about this in terms of what we can do as individuals as well as an organization; everybody needs to be a part of the solution, but as a team with resources we have an increased responsibility.
How we can help as individuals:
- Protesting peacefully – we let the team know it’s OK to miss work to attend a peaceful protest and just asked that they let us know and try to stay safe.
- Donating time – Community clean ups – our teammate Dalyn is a great example and went to one in his neighborhood today.
- Donating money – if you can spare it, there are many great organizations that could use the help. This article has helpful context, and you use Charity Watch to evaluate any of those organizations or others. Personally, I’ve donated to the NAACP & ACLU.
- Promote responsible sharing of content – amplify the voices and causes behind the protests and unrest but avoid content that trivializes or mis-represents events or incites hate; gravitate toward responsible news outlets.
- Voting – it goes without saying that this is a key way of driving change.
- You can also help by normalizing changing your opinion, opening up discussion, and listening to opposing viewpoints
How we can help as an organization:
- Hiring – prioritizing diversity when sourcing and seek to eliminate bias when interviewing candidates with concrete goals and measurements.
- Interns – opening up paths for people to get their foot in the door in a system that so often shuts them out.
- Leadership positions – equally as important as helping people get their foot in the door is helping to drive diversity in positions of power.
- Donating time/assets – leveraging our teammates time/expertise, our software, and our community to relevant organizations.
- Creator diversity & responsible content practices – being thought leaders in how brands can play their part as well.
- Open up lines of communication – on evaluating how have we been in the past and where can we be better.
As we told our team, a lot is going on and it’s OK to feel hurt and confused or hollow about the work you’re doing today with everything happening. One way we can help is to infuse it with meaning and purpose. On our end, we’re dedicating some time this week to open up lines of communication, discuss this as a team, and add smart goals and next steps.
People are worth it. You are also worth it. If you’re struggling with some of these issues, beyond talking with friends and colleagues, also remember you can talk to highly qualified professionals, therapists, and community or religious leaders. We shared some internal resources to our team with regards to counseling.
This is how we are approaching things at Pop Pays, but I wanted to thank our exec team for their guidance, input, and positive encouragement as many of the most valuable pieces of this approach came from them.