For one reason or another a vast majority of our audience decided against joining the conversation. Maybe it is because it made them uncomfortable. Maybe it was because they didn’t have the time or rather it wasn’t a priority. Whatever it was- they were not there.
This isn’t being said to shame you. It is being said to challenge you.
Coworking spaces are hubs for social interaction and change. They are community centers at their core and you as owners have a responsibility to cultivate a diverse, supportive community for all.
We chose not to issue a statement but to take action and start the conversation within our own communities.
We challenge you to do better. Get educated. Have hard conversations. Donate time and resources if you can. Use your platform to showcase affrican american owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Look at where you are purchasing from and see if you can bring it to a local black owned business instead. Invite underrepresented people and groups into your circle. Look inward at your hiring practices and adjust accordingly.
Your words don’t have to be perfect but you have to start the conversation. Don’t get caught up on the nomenclature. You will make mistakes. That is okay. Apologize and move on. Don’t shame others that are trying.
If you are looking for tangible resources, templates and links to utilize (as mentioned in the recording) check out www.rebuildtoday.org.
The speakers from yesterday so graciously offered themselves up as resources however they could be of service. There is a contact form on rebuildtoday.org that you can use to reach them.
“It’s hard to know the difference between appropriation and appreciation but I think that the difference, the line is crossed when you don’t actually acknowledge the culture you are trying to appreciate. So many people just assume the identity of a culture without giving credit to that culture.” – Valerie Williams, Converge
Valerie Williams formerly led Diversity & Inclusion efforts at Airbnb and Stripe and is now the Managing Partner and Founder of her own practice the Converge Firm.
“This is a posture and moment to listen. I think for a lot of professionals of color, we don’t get these kind of moments where white people listen to us. Our bosses don’t listen to us. Our colleagues don’t listen to us. Our clients don’t listen to us. In this way, in this moment. So it’s extremely helpful just to listen, to take in the kind of conversations.” – Rory Verrett, Protege Search
Rory Verrett served as head of talent acquisition of talent at the NFL and is now a managing partner at Protege Search
“98% of black businesses didn’t even qualify for PPP loans because they don’t have employees. So if you have a black business in your coworking space with more than one employee, they’re already in the 2% of the most successful black businesses in the country. Just the simple fact they employ other people. Knowing all of the challenges that exist, there could be opportunities there where you could support your own black businesses with a free seat for an additional employee.” – Ebbie Parsons, Yardstick Management
Ebbie Parsons- After working at Fortune 500 companies including Intel, Medtronic and American Express, Ebbie is now the managing partner at Yardstick Management.