Over the last several days, we have seen horrific events happen in America. The fact that a police officer in broad daylight with several onlookers would smother the life out of an African American man, is something we as Americans and as humans simply should not accept. This is a significant failure of leadership at many levels in this country where politics and re-elections seem to be the focus of many leaders rather than leading and safeguarding the citizens they represent. What is particularly appalling is the lack of courage from many of our elected officials to step up and even make an attempt to set us on a path to correct all of these wrongs over several years. What we hear is the deafening sound of silence from them on taking any action to solve the real problem.
Just as dangerous as our leaders’ silence, is the apathy of many people in America to this problem, we go about our lives as if it is someone else’s problem to fix or that it will fix itself.
Like most societal ills, the problem does not just fix itself and we cannot wish it away. Sadly, the time has come when many people have finally decided to take matters into their own hands to resolve the issue. While violence is never the right response to violence, the years of frustration and pent up anger — and perhaps desperation caused by unemployment which sometimes manifests itself violently — is an understandable human reaction.
In the midst of several heart-wrenching days, the one thing that makes me hopeful that these protests will indeed be part of a solution is participation from the diversity of people of all colors, ages and nationalities. This is not a simple matter of black people vs white people or police vs black people, it is a matter of humans vs oppressors. The police and the political leaders need to wake up to the fact that, as Abraham Lincoln said, they are elected BY the people FOR the people i.e. to serve the needs of the people. If this protest does not wake them up to that, I hope these same protestors and indeed the rest of us Americans do what we definitely can do — despite the threat of using the military or force — vote them out of office.
Yesterday morning, our 18-year old daughter who is a freshman at Stanford and staying with us now due to COVID-19, said she was going to downtown Menlo Park to join the protest. For a few seconds, my instinct was to say “no” for fear of her safety, but I quickly caught myself and told her to go ahead. I had no idea what I was sending her to — but I did learn a valuable lesson — bystanders are just as guilty as the oppressors. Apathy and not speaking out is almost as bad as outright racism. I am convinced that the only way to end this is for all of us — regardless of race, color, gender, ethnic background, political affiliation or even risk of harm — is to stand up and speak up saying we will not accept this.
Let’s all continue to set an example as a company, as a community, and showcase what a diverse group of people who believe that great talent and success come in many colors can do–together. Individually, we must commit to doing whatever we can to ensure America once again becomes an icon of equality, fairness and equal opportunity, regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnic background or color, and set an example for the rest of the world to follow.
At Jivox, diversity and inclusion are core to our values and culture, and — we simply will not have it any other way. Anything short of that is simply unacceptable. Black lives matter.