Activism and advocacy are inherent to the experience of being a creator. To be a creator is to be an advocate for a better world.
We recognize the deep layers of historic and systemic injustice the tragic murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, David McAtee, and countless others represent. Present-day creators and social activist leaders like Rachel Cargle, Luvvie Ajayi, Deray McKesson, bell hooks, and Brittany Packnett Cunningham use their gifts and platforms to expose and demand change, bringing light to the darkness.
Racial injustice isn’t new and this discussion isn’t limited to the present. The creator community has exposed the layers of darkness and hope for generations. For example, a great creator, Billie Holiday, recorded these lyrics in 1939:
“Southern trees bearing strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the roots
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”
This song depicted lynchings that suffocated 1000s of Black lives. Here we are today with the Black community still suffocating. The US has yet to fully address its deepest sins that started 400 years ago in 1619 — slavery and the devaluation of Black lives.
For over 400 years, Black communities have disproportionately suffered. Slavery, Jim Crow laws, redlining, gerrymandering, voter suppression, lending discrimination, mass incarceration, and police brutality are examples of systemic methods with one goal — devalue Black lives and preserve white supremacy and privilege.
Throughout time America has flourished on the backs of Black lives who've driven economies, movements, and scientific discoveries. For example, Black scientists from George Washington Carver, Percy Julian, Daniel Hale Williams, Katherine Johnson to Neil DeGrasse Tyson have saved lives by discovering open heart surgery, synthesized arthritis treatments, and explored space — to name a few.
Despite the immeasurable contributions by Black communities, Black lives are devalued by racially driven laws and systems that produce vast economic and health disparities when compared to white counterparts.
America has been rightfully pushed to reckon with this deep-seated systemic racism through various inflection points and movements. The civil war, the public outcry on the death of Emmett Till, the civil rights movement, and the election of the first Black US president (Barack Obama) are inflection points.
Another inflection point is here and Black Lives Matter is fueling the movement. We will do everything we can to support people of all backgrounds who are protesting across the globe.
We recognize that others may have been quicker to hit send on an email, or release a curated statement- but here at ConvertKit, we've learned the first step to responding to pain is to listen. We've taken time to have conversations with creators, our team, and our leaders about how we want to address the fact that Black Lives Matter, and we all must play a role in activism and advocacy.
Over the past week, we’ve contributed to the Equal Justice Initiative, Black Lives Matter, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Bail Project, Center for Policing Equity, The Loveland Foundation, Color of Change, Project Nia, Until Freedom, Campaign Zero, and Southern Poverty Law Center. Historically, our company has taken steps to increase diversity on our team and ensure our message and values are inclusive of Black communities. However, one time donations and historical efforts are not enough and we will do more.
Our team has worked together to develop a multi-angled approach that hits three of the systemic pillars of racial injustice – education, mass incarceration, and voting rights.
We will identify and partner with companies and creators that address these pillars. Most importantly, we will invest time and money to make them a permanent part of our operational budget.
In the coming weeks, we will share our ongoing efforts to support our Black teammates, Black creators, and the Black community at large in the form of our “Now, Next, Later” plan. The plan will outline what we will do in the next 4 weeks (Now), 4 weeks after that (Next), and beyond (Later). It’s our hope that this communication spurs change, challenges the industry, and inspires others to recognize that we all play an integral role in keeping this inflection point going- until permanent and lasting change exists in the lives of Black people everywhere.
To our Black creators, whose lives matter to us and enrich, innovate, and better this world: we stand with you, support you, and we look forward to doing our part in eradicating racial disparities across the world.
Peace, power, and blessings
The ConvertKit Team