Given the uncertainty in the world today, the pandemic and now the erupting unrest across the country sparked by the senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and other lethal attacks against unarmed Black citizens, I wanted to write and share some thoughts with all of you. I also wanted to emphasize that Button and our community is here for you.
As many of you know, I am an eternal optimist and a believer in the thought that our best days are ahead of us. That statement can only be made with confidence and authenticity if we, as people, can learn. If we can listen. And most importantly, if we are committed to doing better.
The systemic, unending racism, and bigotry that plagues this nation is as real today as it was 400 years ago. Different, but still just as present. I wanted you to know that Button will be an ally and hopefully, a leader, in the fight for equality.
Since Button’s founding, we’ve strived to create a culture that embraces, honors, and celebrates diversity. We’ve done a lot, but rather than list all those things, I’ll say that we’ve built a company that I am proud of. With that said, it is not enough. We need to do more—and this is our moment.
As an early childhood educator, Erica, my wife, has dedicated her career to being a learner and an advocate in the fight for anti-racism. She has helped me better understand Whiteness, bias, and exposed me to the issues facing people of color more deeply through the community she’s become a part of. Even though I’ve become more well-versed, I haven’t done enough as a leader in this regard—and I can think of no greater cause or moment in time to double down.
Our first effort was announced at all-hands on Monday a week ago —a matching program for giving to causes around this fight. Let that be the first of many acts that we take to do more. We’ll be mobilizing efforts through our Diversity & Inclusion committee; I’ll also be taking an active role and I ask that each of you do the same. Please submit ideas, concepts, and ways in which we can lead. During the week of June 22, I’ll host a forum where we can discuss the areas in which we can do more, and all of you will be invited to participate.
One other thing that I will personally be doing, and welcome any of you interested in joining me, is reading White Fragility. A New Yorker review on the book can be found here. If you want to buy and read it, Button will pay for it. My wife recommended White Fragility after being inspired by the book and hearing its author Robin DiAngelo speak. I’ll be hosting a book club discussion on it the week of June 29 for anyone who would like to join.
Many of us White people will never understand the struggles faced by Black communities and other communities of color. That lack of understanding does not mean that we cannot stand together and be champions of change. People of color have fought this fight in this country their whole lives. It is time for me as a White person—with privileges afforded to me because of the color of my skin—to stand up and do more. I ask that we all try to do the same.
Together, we can do better.