(Pictured: Sterling Smith, CEO @ Sandbox Commerce presenting at The Pitch Podcast)
This moment feels beyond frustrating. Beyond sad and helpless. This moment broke many wearied spirits, who have marched and protested on the same topic for years: Black Lives Matter.
As a Black tech founder, my experience has taught me that there are some places where my voice will be diminished or silenced completely. I fight harder to gain an audience with investors and pitch my business. At a time when only 105 Black and Latino founders have raised more than $1 million between 2000 and 2018, the inequities in tech mirror the challenges faced by Black men and women who are underserved by the political, healthcare, education and judicial systems.
In the midst of upheaval that has taken over streets in all fifty states and in cities around the globe, where marchers and protestors hold aloft signs with the names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others, we are also experiencing a pandemic. The full impact of the swift-moving virus is yet to be seen; however, what we do know at the moment is that the country is reporting record unemployment and more than 100,000 deaths in the United States. Black communities are faring worse in both of these effects.
For the individuals, corporate leaders and brands who have used their platform to participate in #BlackOutTuesday and share public statements decrying the injustices Black communities experience, we hear your words. But what of your actions?
I, along with other Black men and women, call on every entity whose bottom line is increased by the $1.3 trillion in buying power from Black consumers to move beyond shock, disbelief and horror at what has transpired and begin to use your resources – platform, voices and dollars – to dismantle the systems that continue to perpetuate inequality.
Also published on Medium.