We at MassChallenge have taken time to reflect on the events of the past week in the US, and I am writing today to share an update on the actions we’ve taken - and plan to take - in the fight for social justice.
First, we want to make it abundantly clear that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and its allies, and against police brutality and the ongoing marginalization and repression of communities of color. We share the fear, hurt, and anger awakened by the murders of George Floyd and too many others, which have underscored the decades-long failure of unequal justice and the immediate need for collective action and meaningful, long-lasting change.
During this time, we’ve also reflected on our responsibility to this fight: MassChallenge is not where we want to be and should be. We need to do the work to attract, hire, support, and advance team members from diverse backgrounds or who are people of color; we need to do the work to bring in and support more industry experts and startup mentors who are people of color; and we need to do the work to ensure that MassChallenge programs provide the best support and resources to help founders of color grow while accelerating their businesses.
Today, we’re committing to do that work. Here is what we’re starting with:
- Asked employees to act – through education, donation, volunteering, or peacefully protesting – while taking time to process their feelings and care for their emotional wellbeing;
- Secured experts to help our employees gain more knowledge about and engage in actionable conversations about systemic racism and privilege;
- Analyzing our talent acquisition data to understand the changes we need to make to hire and support a more diverse workforce;
- Working to expand our professional network to reach diverse industry experts while building an action plan focusing on how our programs can better support experts and mentors;; and
- Reviewing our application and finalist data to better understand if and how our recruiting practices and judging process are leaving people out while working to support the founders of color in our 2020 programs.
It’s not enough and I know that, but it’s a journey that MassChallenge - and the innovation community as a whole - desperately needs to take: entrepreneurs today are working on the ideas, tools, and technologies that will build a stronger, more connected tomorrow.
Join us on that journey - if you have any questions, guidance, or recommendations, I’m here to listen. Please reach out to me directly at [email protected].
Chief Executive Officer | MassChallenge