5 Immediate Actions You Can Take to Support Black Lives (and What We’re Doing Now)
This is the content of an email sent out to our newsletter audience on Tuesday, June 2, 2020:
Our mission at Skillcrush is to empower women with the skills they need to enter higher-earning, more flexible, and creatively fulfilling careers in tech.
At first blush, that may not seem like a mission that has to do with race, but when it comes to gender and economic empowerment, you can NEVER leave race out of the picture.
Thinking about race isn’t new to us as a company, but the recent events in the United States of America have highlighted the extreme urgency of deepening that work and examining everything we do through the lens of anti-racism.
We are committed to using our platform to protect and uplift the lives of our Black staff, students, community members, friends, relatives, and Black people all over the USA and world.
Black Lives Matter.
Period. And we’re not going to be silent about it.
For those of us who are white, it can be easy to hide behind our privilege and push the discomfort of systemic racism from our minds. But those who are Black, who face this oppression day-in and day-out, do not have this option.
So instead of staying silent, we’re getting loud and leaning into difficult conversations in order to be better allies to Black people around the world.
Valuing Black lives shouldn’t be political. It’s an affirmation of their fundamental human rights.
No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s no denying that Black people deserve fundamental human rights. Yet what we’ve seen is that, for hundreds of years in the United States of America, Black people have been denied those rights.
We know that there are many in our community who do not live in the USA, but systemic racism is, unfortunately, not an American invention, and we’ve been proud and appreciative to see protests and demonstrations around the world in solidarity with all Black people.
In terms of the USA specifically, at current rates, police kill about 1 in 1,000 Black men, 2.5 times the rate at which white men are killed by the police. In fact, it’s among the leading causes of death for young Black men.
Black Americans are more likely to be arrested, more likely to be convicted after getting arrested, and more likely to have longer prison sentences after being convicted than white Americans. In fact, 1 in every 3 Black men in the USA will serve prison time. 1 in 3.
Black women are 3-4 times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women, regardless of education and income level.
To speak specifically to the current global pandemic, Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at 2.4 times the rate that white American are dying. And 40% of Black-owned businesses have shut down, a number disproportionately higher than other groups.
Horrifyingly, we could go on and on with stats like these, but instead, we want to act. And we encourage you to do the same.
Silence is violence. White silence is white violence.
For the sake of Black lives, we urge you: do not stay silent. Do not stay complacent. Start speaking out and taking action. It can be hard to do so at first because none of us want to say or do the wrong thing, but doing nothing is doing the wrong thing.
And when you speak out, expect that, at first, you will do it wrong. Don’t be scared when someone critiques what you say—that critique means you’re on the right track, that you’ve entered the right conversation, and you’re being given the opportunity to learn and continue to do better.
With all that in mind, here are 5 things you can do right now:
- Hold your elected official accountable. Ask your local politicians what their policy is on ending police brutality. And vote! If we want to see real, lasting change, especially at the state and local level where many of these issues play out, we need to bring our voices to the polls and elect those who will work to reform our communities.
- Listen and learn from Black people and their experiences. Say the wrong thing? Accept their feedback and continue to do your research and educate yourself, friends, and family.
- Support Black businesses. Here’s a great resource for finding Black businesses near you in the USA.
- Use your privilege to help others. Call out and intervene when you see injustice and discrimination.
- Donate! There are a number of worthy organizations that you can contribute to, including the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and Campaign Zero, which is aimed at ending police brutality.
At Skillcrush, we’re donating $15,000 to the National Bail Fund Network, a network that includes more than 60 bail and bond funds throughout the USA.
We’ll also be matching donations for any students or alumni who donate to social justice organizations. Look out for an email coming with further details!
And finally, we’ll also pledge 15% of our sales for the month of June to social justice organizations.
There are huge changes that need to be made, and they won’t be made through one donation or one email. But collectively, those small changes add up. Together, we can stand in solidarity and see big change come to light.
With all our love, The Skillcrush Staff: