A Message From Our CEO
“The great evil of American slavery wasn’t the involuntary servitude; it was the fiction that Black people aren’t as good as white people, and aren’t the equals of white people, and are less evolved, less human, less capable, less worthy, less deserving than white people.”
– Bryan Stevenson
I became aware of Bryan Stevenson about a decade ago. In his work for equal justice, Bryan often explains that slavery didn’t end in 1865 but simply evolved. Since then, this truth has been apparent to me in the communities in which I work and have called home, and in recent weeks, the reality of Bryan’s words has been thrust into our national conversation.
The Frontier Project is an organization that wholeheartedly believes in the value and potential of people, and tapping into that potential is a core aspect of our work. We also know that we live in a country where inequities experienced by and in communities of color is not the exception but often the rule. We stand with so many others to say that this must change. We stand with so many others to say to the Black community of Richmond and across our nation that your lives matter.
We also want to take action. As the leader of our team and owner of a small business, I’ve given a lot of thought to (and received wise input on) how we might best do that in meaningful ways that are authentic to who we are and what we do. The list below is a result of those efforts and inputs.
- First, as a part of our regular book club, our team will be reading The Person You Mean to Be. I’ve invited a special guest and friend who has spent over a decade leading DEI programs at countless organizations to join us. I am also asking our team for recommendations for two to three other guests that will help challenge our perspective as we reflect on this book.
- Second, a renewed diligence in our recruiting efforts as a small business. We have tried to address this in the past, and we still have more work to do. We don’t hire often, but when we do, I want to ensure we are generating the most diverse candidate pipeline possible. Additionally, I want to review our hiring processes and procedures to identify and eliminate unconscious bias. I need help finding the right third-party resource to help us do this well. Drop me a line if you know the person I should call.
- Third, our team will host our friends from Fearless Dialogues to facilitate a conversation on the topics of race, inclusion, and equity in our own lives and our company. It is incredibly important to me that our team gathers and is able to discuss these topics well, especially given the work we do. I trust Jojo and Greg to be meaningful guides in that conversation.
- Finally, we want to be as helpful and resourceful as possible to our clients and support their own work on this front. And we never want expense to stand in their way, so in gratitude for clients that have invested meaningfully in us in 2020, we will offer them a session with Fearless Dialogues on us.
Change happens when everyone does their part. We know that we still have much to learn, that this effort will be ongoing, and that we must not become complacent but stay proactive in our efforts. This is just a start, and I am hopeful that through these first few actions, our team and company will continue to find ways to contribute to our communities so that the racial injustice in our country can finally become our history and not a painful part of our present.