We, as BackerKit, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
We stand against racism and anti-blackness, police brutality, and the systemic racial injustices that the Black community face.
The past few weeks have exposed just a very small fraction of the abusive structural racism and the racial injustices that have been plaguing Black lives for far too long, most recently with the murder of George Floyd.
Our hearts go out to all the families who have had their loved ones taken away from them through the force of police violence and to all people who have been oppressed and devalued by this system.
Since the social unrest erupted after the murder of George Floyd, our top priority has been to make sure that the folks that work at BackerKit are not only educating themselves, but also taking care of themselves.
We believed that putting out a statement before we had committed to a clear action plan was the wrong way to show up. These times call for critical, thoughtful decisions over fast action for the sake of posting. Black Lives Matter is not a one-time, trending event. It is on-going and will be a very long-term fight.
The lack of Black representation is an issue in the crowdfunding industry.
Over the past few weeks, we have been thinking about where we can have the most impact as a company. To us, it goes back to our purpose: Creating space for creators.
Crowdfunding gives traditionally marginalized voices a fair and open platform. Theoretically.
However, we see a lack of racial diversity — in particular, a lack of Black creators — on crowdfunding platforms. We, who support creators in this space, need to begin to learn and find out why Black creators are underrepresented. We need to listen to Black creators to understand how we can do better.
We have seen many successful campaigns that fundamentally altered the course of people’s lives and provided them with new opportunities. How can we make that experience more available to Black creators?
Until recently, this wasn’t a topic that was discussed enough in the crowdfunding community, but we need to start working to actively fix that. It is no longer acceptable to remain silent or just empathize with words. There needs to be action and accountability.
Like many individuals out there, we’ve tried to figure out what we can do personally to be part of the change. These are the steps we are committed to taking right away:
1. We have donated $20,000 to organizations fighting racial injustice. 50% will go to Black Lives Matter, and 50% to Black Organizing Project, an Oakland-based organization focused on grassroots community organizing and policy-change.
2. We have begun matching employee donations to initiatives that are fighting racial injustice up to $500 for 2020 for each of BackerKit’s 35 employees.
3. We will reach out to Black creators, artists and business associations to learn how we can better support their work.
4. We will share the stories of Black creators and promote Black-led campaigns through our blog content, webinars, and BackerKit-sponsored community events. Beginning this Juneteenth (June 19, 2020), we will be highlighting Black creators and their projects in our newsletter.
5. We will refocus The Creative Fund to prioritize efforts to support Black creators.
6. We will continue to hire a team that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the creators we hope to serve in the future.
7. We have actively invested in the growth and education of our team members through quarterly training specifically addressing diversity, inclusion, belonging, and equity in the workplace, and will continue to do so.
This is only the beginning of our commitments and the start of the conversation. We will continue to find new ways to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and continue to work to create an inclusive and supportive space for our team, and the community we serve, especially for Black creators.
Rosanna Yau & Maxwell Salzberg
The following resources are an excellent starting point for anyone who would like to learn more about the movement.
- What Black Lives Matter Means (and Why It’s Problematic to Say “All Lives Matter”)
- The Death of George Floyd, in Context
- “Black Lives Matter” has become a global rallying cry against racism and police brutality
- 11 Things You Can Do To Help Black Lives Matter End Police Violence
- Anti-Racism Resources
- 7 Examples Of What Being An Ally At Work Really Looks Like