I apologize if this note is arriving late — it took some time for me to gather my thoughts and emotions around the murder of George Floyd. I did not want to make a statement just to make a statement because everyone else in the business community was. I wanted thinkPARALLAX to take action before speaking about it, but then realized that staying silent is even worse.
Watching the video capturing the murder jolted me from the false reality within which I and many others have been living in. The reality we now see is what Black people have been living in for centuries. As an immigrant and entrepreneur, I have been able to realize my own version of “The American Dream.” But recent events have made me realize that this dream is not equally accessible even to those born in this country — and particularly to people of color. Even as an immigrant with a funny Dutch accent, the whiteness of my skin has given me untold advantages that I did nothing to earn. Besides this, it gives me simple privileges easily taken for granted — such as being able to walk my dog in my neighborhood without fear of being profiled, or letting my sons leave the house without worry. Because of the systematic racism that is baked into our society and institutions, too many of our fellow Americans are being denied basic liberties.
I founded thinkPARALLAX along with Jonathan Hanwit because we wanted to help organizations amplify their positive social and environmental impact. Over the past 17 years, we’ve been guided by our core values of Passion, Care, Creativity, and Candor. We thought we were doing our part to help build a better world.
Yet the murder of George Floyd — following the previous murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin, and many others — punctuates the point that we cannot have a sustainable world where centuries of blatant and systemic racism persists. We acknowledge that as individuals and an agency, we have a responsibility to do more because we have not done enough.
Actions speak louder than words, so we are making plans to better support the growing movement against injustice. We are examining educational opportunities, sharing knowledge, having open dialogue, improving our hiring and vendor policies, and exploring how to best donate our time, skills, and money. We will share our goals and report our progress in our 2020 Benefit Report and beyond.
It’s time for all of us to break our silence and stand in solidarity with the Black community. Black Lives Matter.