Update: This article was published after the first weekend of protests following George Floyd’s murder by four Minneapolis police officers. At that time, in the midst of demonstrations and public outrage, this statement’s context seemed obvious. But as time passed, I have come to see that it was vague and nonspecific.
So, to future readers, I want to make clear that this statement was a direct response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the much longer history of racism and police brutality that we must not ignore. We support the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn police violence and systemic racism. We acknowledge white privilege. And we know these problems are ours to solve.
—Todd (July 6, 2020)
This is the week the dam broke.
It’s been cracking for decades. Most people haven’t noticed the cracks forming. The dam was willfully neglected by its caretakers. The cracks deepened. Many who saw the cracks tried to cover over them, hiding them but doing nothing to fix the systemic rot. It was only a matter of time before this happened.
The years, decades, and centuries of unjust treatment for black people and marginalized communities in America has come to a head. We don’t support violence, but when peaceful protests—such as taking a knee during the national anthem—don’t result in change, there is little other choice.
A lot of people are quoting Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Dr. King was not an advocate of violence or riots. In context, this line tells us that America “…has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”
Privilege is real, and it’s built on ignorance of the plight of others. We will work to change that.
- We will match up to $5,000 of Web Chef donations to organizations that work to promote racial equity and end police violence.
- We will organize a company-wide Town Hall on the subject of racial inequity and police violence. We will invite a facilitator who can help us understand perspectives we may not be familiar with.
- We will collect and publish resources for Web Chefs to learn more on their own. This will include articles, videos, and books on the topics of racial inequity and police violence. These resources will be a permanent part of our team Slack and wiki.
- We will continue to refuse work that is incompatible with our values, inclusiveness, or equity—as we always have. We will redouble our efforts to partner with organizations owned or led by people of color and underrepresented groups. We will not waste our time or talents with clients who perpetuate exclusion and hate.
Four Kitchens’ mission is to change the world by setting knowledge free. Starting today, our mission includes being the change we want to see in the world.
We hope you will join us in acknowledging systemic racism and taking action against it.
Inaction is endorsement. Silence is consent.
Thank you to our leadership team for helping me draft this statement: Aaron Stanush, Elia Albarran, Jon Clark, Mike Minecki, and Stacy German. Special thanks to Dean Oest, also on our leadership team, who set the tone and contributed beautiful prose.