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Not a moment but a movement: Our commitment to dismantling systemic racism

  • 11 June 2020

We stand in solidarity with Black communities across the world in the unquestionable proclamation that Black Lives Matter. Please see below for an official statement from Kin + Carta regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and our commitment to dismantling systemic racism within our company and our communities. We will be sharing ongoing progress and detailed goals in the days, weeks, and months to come.

On behalf of Kin + Carta I wanted to share some thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement.  First, like all of you we are deeply saddened and outraged by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and most recently, George Floyd. The unfortunate truth is that these murders were just the latest examples of a deep-seated historical problem of systemic racism in the US and in many other parts of our world. So first and foremost, we stand in solidarity with Black communities across the world in the unquestionable proclamation that Black Lives Matter.

At Kin + Carta we believe it’s every one of our jobs to make the world work better. To work better goes far beyond technology and efficiency. It starts with a foundation of equity, inclusion, and the deliberate unbundling of systematic racial constraints that exist within our society.  

We have always had an unwavering commitment to inclusivity, but we also have come to understand that being not racist is simply not enough. Racism is something that is a living breathing thing in our society.  And if you want something that is alive to be eradicated, you can’t just leave it alone, you have to confront it and destroy it.  And so we are committed to being an anti-racist company; not just in words but in action. 
As a total aside, I have done a lot of personal education and reflection on this topic these past couple weeks.  One thing that I’ve uncovered about myself, is that as a Gen-Xer, I grew up in a Sesame Street era where I was taught color-blindness.  That I shouldn’t see color, I should view everyone as the same. And if everyone just did that, then we would find ourselves in a much better place.  But the problem with color-blindness is it allows you to ignore racism. To hide behind your own perspective. It fails to acknowledge the fact that people of color have a very different experience in our society than white people. And if we choose to not see color, then in many cases we are choosing to not see the inequality that exists in the infrastructure of our society. 

As business leaders we have to  acknowledge that we have been too complacent, that our current diversity and inclusion initiatives, although noble, don’t go far enough to address a complex problem like systemic racism. That our businesses can, and must, do more. It’s been inspiring to see the number of company statements that have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. I struggle with the tone of some that allude to a bulleted list of actions developed over the course of 48-72 hours will somehow help solve the problem. I think it’s going to require more work than that. 

The process we are following is one of education, decision and action.  At Kin + Carta we have started this journey by listening to our black colleagues, friends and community leaders to educate and guide us. This exploration itself is incredibly valuable. It’s not something that can or should be rushed.  That will lead to us building a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan that delivers long term, sustainable, meaningful change. We don’t have that plan today. We have some real work to do in this area.  But today I will give you a commitment that we will come back in the next 60 days with that plan, and it will include a comprehensive review of our existing diversity, equity, and inclusion training programs, hiring processes, compensation practices, community support and supplier alignment.

Also, as you might have heard from us before,  we have committed to certifying all of Kin + Carta’s regions as B-Corps by 2021. The reason we have made that promise is that B Corp provides a framework and commitment to ongoing sustainable social change, particularly in areas of inclusion and diversity. It’s a commitment to publishing our progress and having a third party audit that progress.  I would encourage other companies to research and consider pursuit of the B Corp designation.  

As with everything we do, we are committed to sharing our learnings, decisions, and best practices with our community as we uncover them. We do not view this as a moment, but a movement to dismantle the systemic racism and bias that has plagued our Black communities and our countries for far too long. We are committed to helping change the course of history and creating a company, a community, and a world that our kids can be proud of. We are committed to making it happen. Thanks for listening. 

J Schwan
CEO, Kin + Carta