In light of recent events, we wanted to share our thoughts from both a personal and company level. Below are unique perspectives from two members of our Executive Team: Yaffa Holmes, our Head of Operations, and Nelson Chu, our CEO.
A note from Yaffa Holmes, Head of Operations
The last few weeks have been filled with so many emotions: pain, anger, frustration, mistrust, helplessness, outrage and misunderstanding. The United States is at a crossroads and remaining divided will have catastrophic consequences. It is up to America’s leaders, whether they be parents, teachers, managers, heads of companies, or heads of government, to impart the importance of equality and correct injustices. This starts with the recognition that our American institutions have systematically denied equal rights to African Americans since slavery. As a nation, we have undeniably made progress over the years, albeit painfully and with sacrifice. There remains a long road ahead. We must never stop fighting for the justice and equality that we all deserve as human beings.
The next step is to do something. Peaceful protesting is crucial in spreading awareness but, to have a long-lasting impact, we must take other meaningful action. Ensure our children interact with a diverse group of peers; teach the lessons we have learned and continue to learn from history and our personal experience; hire minorities, groom them for success, and then actualize that success through promotions. Of course, vote, and encourage all of our neighbors and friends to vote at the local, state and federal levels.
The death of George Floyd has sparked an awesome fire that we hope will spread, bringing about positive change. We believe the only way America can truly be great is if the nation unites in its mission to better the lives of ALL Americans. The rhetoric of hate on all sides must end. To quote the great Dr. King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
. . .
A note from Nelson Chu, Founder & CEO
It’s been a tragic and painful last few weeks in this country. As a nation, we are grieving and angry at the injustice and the systemic and institutionalized racism that still runs rampant in this country. We stand with the protesters who are making peaceful demands for change and we stand against racism in every way that it rears its ugly head. This is about being human and recognizing that what has happened throughout history and what continues to happen to Black citizens in America is inhumane. Not only do we have the ability to make a difference, we have a moral obligation to not remain silent.
These recent events have forced us to examine ourselves as a company and what we can do to be better and to do more with the resources that we’re fortunate enough to have. Even as a small early-stage company, there are ways to ensure that we live up to a set of values and morals that we can stand behind as we set out to build the company into one that we’re proud to be a part of. To that end, we are launching a matching program here at Percent up to $1,000 per team member per year, empowering our employees to support all the various causes that resonate with them. Our hope is that as we grow, we will be able to increase the amount we match with each passing year and make this a core part of our culture. Percent will also be donating to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, an NYC-based civil rights organization that has been leading the fight for racial justice since 1940.
This country is in desperate need of change and each and every one of us has a moral obligation to do their part so that recurring tragedies like these can truly be a thing of the past.