As we write to you today, helicopters circle overhead and protestors kneel, march, and chant for racial justice. We would like to use this opportunity to affirm C100’s values and our stance on diversity and inclusion; and to open the door to frank discussions with our own community about how C100 can be an agent of service in the fight against racism in our society.
Together with you, we are angered and saddened by the appalling death of George Floyd last week, by the shootings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, the still-mysterious death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet among others, and we are deeply distraught by the racist treatment of Christian Cooper by a Canadian woman in Central Park in New York. We know many of you feel deep pain and inner turmoil that such hatred and racism is a reality today. We feel that pain with you.
To Black members of our community at large, C100 stands with you. We stand against racism and prejudice, individual and systemic, in all its forms. Unequivocally, C100 affirms that #BlackLivesMatter. As an organization, we aim to embody the very best expression of our Canadian ideals, standing for diversity, respect and inclusion.
As an organization, this means that we are committed to actively seeking out opportunities to support diversity in our programs, in our own business practices, and in the communities we touch. As a community, we encourage all of our members, in whatever role you play or where you sit to use your platform to advocate for positive change. Actions may range from personal to public, from seemingly minor to the transformational. But each is an act in the elimination of racism from our society, our system, and our own hearts. This appeal is not specific to citizens of one country or another, but to our very humanity, and to the global citizenship we each hold.
The C100 community is one whose individual members hold some of the most esteemed positions in leadership in the technology world. And so we’d like to open the door to your ideas about how we can best support each other and our communities at this time, how we might be able to use the C100’s unique platform of entrepreneurs, investors, and senior leaders to impact the issue of anti-Black racism. However you might be moved to be an agent of change in the fight against racism. If you think C100 can amplify your impact, we want to hear from you.
Canadian leaders in our community have stepped up and we hope their actions inspire you in some way.
Stewart Butterfield (CEO, Slack) and his partner Jen Rubio pledged $1M in donations and will match up to $300K to ten organizations, including the NAACP and #BlackLivesMatter.
Lastly, we’d like to draw attention to the Black Innovation Fellowship, an initiative run by C100’s Partner, the DMZ, an incubator and accelerator based Ryerson University in Toronto. Here, they have profiled a few Black founders in their community who are giving a “new meaning to inclusive technology”.
In solidarity and support for the movement, the three of us have made financial contributions to the following organizations: National Bail Fund, Black Visions Collective, the NAACP, Campaign Zero, and have signed the Color of Change platform of structural demands and reforms on the policing system.
Laura Buhler, C100 Executive Director
Andre Charoo, C100 Co-chair
Shari Hatch Jones, C100 Co-chair