Over the past month and a half, people all over the country have shown up to protest the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and other unarmed Black people, whose lives were taken all too soon by police forces and armed vigilantes. In addition to the protests, we have witnessed a historic movement with hundreds of thousands of people pooling together their resources to support Black-led organizations that are fighting on the front lines for racial justice. This unprecedented showing of support has renewed our commitment at ActBlue to being full partners in this fight: We know that Black lives matter is more than just a hashtag. It is a movement to uplift all Black people, including Black women, Black trans people, Black people with disabilities — all Black lives matter. And we are all responsible for creating conditions where Black people in this country can live without fear of persecution, violence, or murder simply for being Black. At ActBlue, here’s what our priorities have been during this time, and what we’ve been working on:
- First, we’ve been focused on supporting the organizations that are leading in this space as they use our platform to raise money for their work. These groups include organizations that have been raising money to help protestors with bail, legal services, and support, as well as Black-led groups that are organizing for voting rights, the protection of Black trans people, and Black political power.
- We’ve also been focused on making it as easy as possible for donors across the country to give. A huge wave of donors gave, many for the very first time, over the past month and a half to support the racial justice movement. We wanted to make sure our platform stayed up and running smoothly and ensure our team was able to handle donors’ questions so we could support that massive influx.
- And finally, we’ve been taking a hard look inward at the role ActBlue plays in this movement and the things we know we need to change about ourselves in order to better support those leading this movement. We know the fight for Black lives and against anti-Black racism won’t end when headlines change.
As an organization, we offer our full support to the folks organizing on the ground, and we stand in solidarity with them. We also know that words about solidarity mean little without action, so we want to share some details about the actions we’re taking to shift our internal culture. ActBlue’s Diversity & Inclusion practice has been in place since 2014, though we have primarily focused our work on the fundamentals of cultural competency. In early June, we recognized that this moment compels us to approach this work anew with an explicit anti-racist lens. Here’s what that has meant for us and the ways we’ve sought to support Black employees and others impacted by the fight for racial justice:
- Our leaders and staff are acknowledging police violence and other violence against Black people and its impact on the Black community in our organizational conversations.
- Our leaders and staff have encouraged their Black colleagues (and others who feel impacted) to take time off, and actively slowed down projects to make space for genuine time away from work.
- We’re holding weekly office hours and inviting thoughts, feedback, and ideas from our team as we navigate this together as a community.
- We’re sharing anti-racism resources with our staff.
While we are confident that the shift toward a D&I program that focuses on racial equity is the right step, we acknowledge that it took us too long to get here. We regret that it means we have not shown up as full allies in this work, and we acknowledge the harm that inaction has caused to our partners, supporters, and staff. As one way of honoring our commitment to stronger allyship going forward, here’s what we’re planning for the future:
- We’ve hired an outside consultant to help us kick off our anti-racism work and to facilitate spaces for different groups to come together and support each other as we process the ongoing violence and trauma. This includes dedicated space for employees who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as dedicated spaces for white staff members who want to learn more about what allyship requires of them, both within the organization and out. We are also holding mandatory racial equity learning sessions for managers and senior leaders this summer.
- We will develop sturdy, visible people metrics and supporting data platforms, so we can better track the diversity of our team and hold ourselves accountable for building inclusive, equitable experiences for all ActBlue employees from our hiring, internal growth/promotion, and talent practices to our organization policies and benefits.
- We’re continuing conversations with movement partners to ensure we are showing up fully in this work and are actively helping to dismantle systemic oppression and the barriers to participation for Black and Brown people in our democracy.
We know that this work is not a destination, but an ongoing process. Our team is energized and prepared to do this work for the long haul.