For more than two months now, the main topic—the only topic—everyone has been talking about is COVID-19. I can’t think of any conversation I’ve had since March that didn’t include something related to this pandemic. Today, that seems almost irrelevant in light of the senseless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the public discourse, protests, and responses that have followed.
I am sickened by what happened to this man. How many more George Floyds do there need to be before we make the change in our country and our world? How many more Trayvon Martins do there need to be before we make the change in ourselves? How many more Ahmaud Arberys do there need to be before we give a voice to those who have been ignored for far too long? How many more Botham Jeans do there need to be before we collectively decide enough is enough, and that this has to end?
All across the United States and throughout the world, people of all backgrounds are speaking out in unison saying, “We must not tolerate this anymore!” I too have been saying that since the moment I heard the story and watched the horrific video of Mr. Floyd’s violent, senseless death under the crushing weight of a white police officer’s knee while three of his colleagues stood quietly, silently by. In fact, I say that each time another incident like it appears on the news.
But I say it each time privately to my friends and family. As I lay awake in bed the nights following George Floyd's death, watching events unfold in my home city of Boston, I realized that private thoughts and private discourse are simply not enough. I realized that I had been too quiet over this past week. For that, I sincerely apologize to the Rocket community, especially to people of color. As CEO of Rocket Software, you should have heard from me sooner. I should have stepped up last week and said something.
That’s what I’m doing now.
You know how much I believe in community. You know how important our core values are. And you know how much I believe those core values are what must bind us together as one global, interconnected community.
Now is the time for us to not only commit to making the necessary changes. Now is the time for us to make those changes both locally and personally–in ourselves, in our neighborhoods, in our social circles, and yes, even at Rocket. Now is the time to take action and make things better for people whose voices are not always heard or listened to.
What does corporate action look like? How can a software company of 1,500 people that serves 10,000 customers play a role in fostering real change and real equality? The honest answer is this: I don’t exactly know.
But I do know that whatever we have been doing – individually, collectively, privately, publicly – has not been enough.
So today we are intentionally and formally committing to define programs and actions to drive change and impact. I am committed to this as CEO. My Executive Leadership Team is committed to this. And our Rocketeers all around the globe are committed to this.
Today the conversation starts. Today the working groups get formed. Today the changes and actions will begin. All with not just the hope, but the commitment to create a better tomorrow for people of color in our towns, cities, countries, and our world. One of the first things we're doing is making June 19, also known as Juneteenth, an official holiday for all Rocketeers around the world.
Also known as "Emancipation Day," "Jubilee Day" and "Juneteenth Independence Day," Juneteenth was originally celebrated in Texas, on June 19, 1866. It marked the first anniversary of the day that African Americans there first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was initially issued. The holiday was originally celebrated with prayer meetings, singing spirituals, and wearing new clothes to represent newfound freedom. Within a few years, African Americans were celebrating Juneteenth in other states, making it an annual tradition. My hope is that Rocketeers will use the day to be active in their communities, join in conversations with friends and neighbors about social justice, or support a Black-owned business.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once said, “Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will, and must be defeated.”
I encourage you to take the time to watch this powerful, moving, and relevant speech by Martin Luther King Jr., which he delivered shortly before his assassination.
Now is the time for true empathy, more humanity, and definitely a whole lot more love.
We Shall Overcome.
May 2020 | April 2020 | March 2020 | February 2020 | January 2020 |December 2019 |October 2019 | September 2019 | August 2019 | July 2019 | May 2019 | April 2019 | March 2019 | January 2019 | November 2018 | October 2018 | September 2018 | August 2018 | July 2018 | June 2018 | May 2018 | April 2018 | March 2018 | February 2018 | January 2018 | December 2017 | November 2017 | October 2017 | September 2017 | August 2017 | July 2017 | June 2017 | May 2017 | April 2017 | March 2017 | February 2017 | January 2017 | December 2016 | November 2016 | October 2016 | September 2016 | August 2016 | July 2016 | June 2016 | May 2016 | April 2016 | March 2016 | February 2016 | January 2016 | December 2015 | November 2015 | October 2015 | September 2015 | August 2015 | July 2015 | June 2015 | May 2015 | April 2015 | March 2015 | February 2015 | January 2015 | July 2014 | Apr 2014 | Mar 2014 | Dec 2013 - Jan 2014 | Oct 2013 | Jul 2013