Today, Digital FastForward is announcing the launch of a new website, WE ARE WATCHING, to track the statements and commitments made by leading technology companies to end racism.
I have never experienced the direct and hostile racism that my parents and grandparents experienced. But I have experienced the covert racism of being treated differently because of my skin color. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I have always used this challenge – as so many African Americans do – as fuel to live up to my full potential and beyond other people’s lowered expectations of my abilities.
When the protests broke out after George Floyd’s murder, so many of my friends from different races reached out to ask me how I was feeling. At first, I thought it was an odd question, because of how I grew up. To me none of this was new news. In all honesty I had become numb to the news of what happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Amhaud Arbery. It all seemed par for the course.
That was until I had a run-in with the police a several weeks ago at a park where my wife and I run every weekend. After we had been running for six miles, the park police let us know that the park was shut down. We were surprised because there were no signs or markings indicating that the park was shut down. I also pointed out to the park police that the golf course directly adjacent to the park was open and asked why we could not run in the park. Instead of providing an answer, the park police called for backup. When the backup officer arrived, he immediately started pulling for his taser. It felt surreal in that moment. And I just let them know that we would leave.
Later that day I connected with my co-founder, Cornelius Pone, and we began discussing the incident. We also discussed all of the pledges coming in from tech companies to support ending racism. And we asked ourselves “What can we do to help?” We are a tech company, led by two Black men. In that moment, we resolved not to sit on the sidelines. By the end of the conversation we had sketched out a plan of action for how we could best help.
Today, we are announcing the launch of a new website, WE ARE WATCHING, to track the statements and commitments made by leading technology companies to end racism. In addition to listing their statements, we have dedicated time and resources to regularly check on each company’s progress towards the commitments they’ve made. WE ARE WATCHING will also serve as a portal for those seeking resources on how to help end racism.
Our goal is to track the Top 25 companies that play a part in the corporate innovation ecosystem. We expect this list to grow over time as we populate and update the firms we are tracking.
What can you do to help?
You can help by letting us know if we overlooked a company that you feel should be on the watchlist or if you have an update for any of the companies currently on the list. Send any additions or updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.