Launch Academy Stands with the Black Community
To our community,
Launch Academy stands with the Black community. We stand against racism, systemic injustice, discrimination, and white supremacy. We encourage all of our friends and community members to speak out: it is not OK.
It has been an incredibly difficult few months. Throughout the global pandemic, we’ve seen already-marginalized communities affected even more strongly than usual by systemic injustice and prejudice. Most recently, however, the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as others whose stories have not been so widespread, call our attention as painful reminders of pervasive racism and injustice that are rooted deeply within our society.
Over the past few weeks, we have watched many organizations make statements while we have remained quiet. As a team, we felt strongly that the voices of the Black community should be heard, and we were initially concerned that a statement from us would only contribute noise to the signal. Then, a concerned member of our community reached out to us, which encouraged us all to reflect. After deep consideration, I was compelled to speak out by one of our core values, “show the ugly”, which encourages us as team members to courageously call out things that are wrong within our organization. Ugly, in this context, has a deeper meaning, and it is a subject about which community leaders can no longer remain silent. Today, we stand together in showing the ugly of our industry and our society. These tragic events necessitate change. We all have a lot of work to do.
So what can Launch Academy do as educators, as technologists, and as a community? The question is an intimidating one, and each response does not seem like enough. There likely is no perfect answer, because these problems run deep and have been perpetuated over generations.
Though the question is intimidating, perfect is the enemy of good, and good must be done. So where do we start?
Listen. Let’s work to grow our own awareness and empathy through connecting with other people.
Learn. Knowledge is power. Here are a few resources:
Books (We encourage you to purchase from your local bookstore or a black-owned bookstore, but have provided Amazon links for reference)
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins
- Amplify Black voices – do not remain silent but don’t steal the airtime from Black voices
- Donate – ACLU, hack.Diversity, Campaign Zero, and G|Code House
- Protest – seek justice with nonviolent demonstration
- Call out racism when you see it – speak up if you’re a witness to intolerance or bias, no matter the issue. If it feels wrong to you, learn more. It may be be subtle or understated, but it’s still discrimination.
We are here, and we are listening.