Puppet stands with the Black community

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Puppet stands with the Black community. We stand against racism, violence, and hate. Equality is not a privilege. Justice is not a privilege. These are rights for everyone. Silence prevents progress, so join us in speaking up for equality and justice for Black lives now and always.

It is not as surprising as some might think that we are seeing social unrest in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Black adults have been more than twice as likely as white adults to have been laid off or furloughed during this pandemic. A recent Fortune poll taken in May 2020 found 24% of black adults said they had lost their jobs, compared with 20% of Hispanic workers, 19% of Asian workers, and 11% of white workers. This despite the fact that only 12% of the US population identifies as black. Couple this with the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and piled upon centuries of systemic as well as overt racism and discrimination in the US, the protests in the streets and demands for change are past due.

Now marks a pivotal moment for us to take pause, examine, and recognize our privilege. To listen. To self-educate and learn. To use our social capital to amplify underheard and underrepresented voices, and collectively take action to abolish systemic racism and oppression. At Puppet these actions take the form of both what we are doing as a company, as well as what we are doing as individuals, leaders, parents, teachers, and community members. Some of the near term activities we are focused on include:

Reaffirmation of our values

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” - Edward Everett Hale

At Puppet our values are:

  • Be open. Be direct. Show respect.
  • Be the team you want to work with.
  • Own. Involve. Solve. Share.
  • Solve your customer’s problem.
  • Community empowered. Empowering community.

It is in times like these that our actions need to speak louder than our words. It is in times like these we must come together to make change and do what we can do as organizations and individuals to make a positive and lasting difference.

Continued investment in our IDEA council

From our founding, Puppet has invested in diversity and inclusion efforts through activities such as our ally skills workshops, hiring practices, and pay equity practices. To take our efforts to the next level, earlier this year I published our diversity numbers and shared the formation of our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) council. The vision of the IDEA council is rooted in the people of Puppet, where every team member can bring their authentic self to work and achieve their true potential. Through the council, a collective of perspectives and voices will deliver programs that influence policy and nurture a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access at Puppet. The importance of this work has only increased and we will continue to elevate our efforts here to ensure a diverse and inclusive team that provides access and equity to everyone.

Additional team support

We recognize the pressure and stress many of our team members are experiencing. It is our job to listen, understand, and support them on the many different journeys they may be on depending who they are and the current reality they live in. To identify and provide the support our team requires, we are holding listening forums with leaders and we are bringing in outside experts to provide us guidance in the next right step for us, and perspectives we don’t have. Soon we will offer a refreshed version of our Let’s Talk About Privilege and Unconscious Bias workshops. Because both privilege and bias look different across our global locations and we aim to tailor these workshops to resonate with local culture and history in the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific. And, in recognition that this work is ongoing and that people must restore their energy and heal their pain to continue to stand in solidarity together; we are working with our team to ensure they have access to multi-ways to address caring for their physical, emotional, and mental health.

New resources to self-educate

“Ignorance aligned with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” - James Baldwin

It is upon each of us to take the time to self-educate, identifying the gaps in our own knowledge and fill those gaps with the more complicated and representative narrative of the real world we live in. This is the only way we can become an ally for truth and justice. To support our team members on their own journeys of self-education, we are pulling together and making available an open source collection of books, talks, podcasts and interviews to help our team learn more about the racial injustice in the US, more about Black history and the recent incidents of racial violence, more about the current discourse surrounding current events, more about privilege, more about white fragility and more about anti-racism.

Supporting our communities and non-profits

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” -Coretta Scott King

At Puppet, one way we focus on amplifying underrepresented voices and innovation through our Puppet Innovation Lab. Through this initiative we partner with PIE, supporting start-up founders from underrepresented groups with a co-working space at no charge at Puppet’s headquarters and mentors who participate in the overall PIE program. We lift up Black excellence and innovation across the tech industry and will continue to point to resources and knowledge contributed by Black leaders, teachers, and influencers. Additionally, we use our space (pre & post COVID-19) to host non-profits including partnering with Black Women in STEM to hold panels and educational talks in our Portland headquarters.

While taking action as a company is important in driving change, we believe it is also important that we create an environment that supports our team to pursue and support movements that align with their specific values. In support of this belief, Puppet team members have four paid service days a year where they can give back to the community and support causes important to them, including organizations working for equality and justice. In addition, team members may utilize their service days to participate in peaceful protest for equality and justice around the world. Financially, Puppet made a company donation to Black Lives Matter. Many team members are also making personal financial donations to this organization and other national and local organizations that are all working to create a more just and equal world and represent the unrepresented.

Petitioning our government officials

“This is not a either/or this is a both/and. To bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable, but we also have to translate that into practical solutions and laws that can be implemented and we can monitor and make sure we’re following up on.” - President Barack Obama

To complement our broader organization and individual team member efforts, real change is going to require policy and legal change as well. Here we are working in partnership with other technology and local organizations to draft letters of petition for different levels of government, and we welcome more collaboration. We know that all major change starts with people, locally, and we are asking our representatives in Congress to speak for those who have been silenced for too long through new laws, policies, governmental program funding, and enforcement to address the seismic racism and injustice that exists in our society today.

This is a journey that we are all on as an organization, leaders, team members and individuals to create a more fair, just and equitable world. As we further mature our actions in this area, we will update this blog and share with all of you; only collectively can we make the difference needed.

Update

Since this blog was posted:

  • Puppet has declared Juneteenth, 19 June, an ongoing holiday for U.S. based employees. We are doing this because we believe it is more important than ever to recall and reflect on the often unspoken history in the United States and to take this time to reflect and take action on a disappointing and challenging fact: despite the final freeing of the slaves in the United States happening over 155 years ago, we still have a lot of work to do to truly achieve liberty and justice for all in this country. In alignment with the intent of this holiday, we are making resources available to the team for self-education, along with local and national volunteer organizations team members can engage with here in the US.
  • In partnership with the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO), we are partnering with more than 35 companies to request our government officials support passing and implementing legislation condemning police brutality, racial profiling, and the excessive use of force and creating real change that turns the tide of systemic racism in the United States and in Oregon.
  • Puppet is continuing to work to further diversify the company at all levels with a specific focus on bringing more Black community members into Puppet. While making a meaningful impact will take time, and it is important that we achieve representation at all levels in the company, we are committed to changing the status quo and seeking out innovative approaches to accomplish this important goal.
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