This year, the Juneteenth holiday gained wider global recognition. At HackerOne, we kicked off our inaugural Juneteenth celebration with a day of learning, reflection and unified commitment to action. Our goal was to give our people insightful ‘aha’ moments and conclude with commitments that advance equality and inclusion. There is no room for racism or inequality here.
Our employees spent the day in workshops, discussions, and activities that centered on the Black community. As an organization and as individuals, we committed to doing more and doing better. This year’s Juneteenth events were just a single step in a much longer journey.
Feel free to share these ideas, help us crowdsource more, or reach out to me personally with questions.
A Day For Action
In the U.S., we kicked off the day with an Allies and Accomplices Session led by Satya de la Paz and JD Doyle. Satya is a speaker and yoga instructor and JD is a speaker and workshop leader. They each brought a grounded, mindful approach to our session on diversity and allyship, raising our awareness of how we can be more thoughtful on how we interact with each other and with our community.
Across the world, our teams in the U.S., London, Groningen, and Singapore reviewed articles and videos to better understand the Black Lives Matter movement and why diversity and equality are important for businesses. Teams were also encouraged to educate themselves on the history of slavery and abolition in the U.S., with content including Changing the Narrative: Teaching Black History Beyond Slavery and Oppression, created by The Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies within the School District of Palm Beach County, and A History of Slavery in the United States, an interactive timeline of slavery in the U.S. produced by National Geographic.
Our Hackeronies also watched the documentary 13th (if you haven’t seen this, it’s a must), which brings together scholars, activists, and politicians to analyze the mass criminalization and incarceration of Black Americans across the U.S. In each region, managers led moderated discussions on the documentary, its message, and the personal impact it had on our teams.
Each HackerOne office also added localized components to their Juneteenth programs, and teams were encouraged to support a Black-owned business for lunch.
Our Hackeronies who identify as Black were invited to attend an H1 Black Community Workshop.
As part of our U.S. office Juneteenth program, we invited Leigh Frazier, Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County, to share her thoughts on race and equality from the view of an African American criminal prosecutor. Leigh talked about her family’s background, time where she has seen and experienced racism in the criminal justice system, and offered her thoughts on how we can work towards eliminating systemic racism.
“Most of us grew up ignorant and innocent,” said Marten Mickos, HackerOne CEO, in response to Leigh’s insights. “But if we’re not taking action, we are silently approving of what’s happening.”
Reflection and Commitment
Before we concluded the day, our global team was given time to reflect on what they learned and express how they will commit to change. This global “Change & Action Commitment” asked each Hackeronie to declare how they’d like to contribute to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable HackerOne, our community and world.
Going forward, we’re committed to building on this celebration and day for action each year. Why turn Juneteenth into a day for action? I’ll leave you with a few comments from our team’s feedback on the experience…
“It was just this month that I even learned what Juneteenth commemorates. Today I learned that even though slavery has technically been gone for 155 years, there has always been a legal system in place that disproportionately affects black people, such as the prison system, for the economic and social gain of white people.”
“I learned how hard it will be to confront racism and bias on an ongoing basis, but that we need to make this part of our daily lives to really have an impact.”
“Being an Ally means you have to stand up, take up the fight, but also remember this conversation isn't about you.”
“Research shows diversity and inclusion drive innovation. Well managed diverse teams have the potential to outperform homogenous teams, but this is very dependent on the way diverse teams are managed. If no inclusive culture is fostered, there is a risk that diverse teams will perform worse than homogenous teams.”
The day was so meaningful and powerful. Ending systemic racism starts with awareness and empathy. That’s how we change as individuals, and start to change the world.