We’ve just witnessed a historic week. But, that’s not all, folks. This week’s events should show us that systemic racism, prejudice, injustice, and inequality have been and continue to be ongoing issues in this country, and they demand our constant attention and action. No more complacency and silence – any kind of inaction is just shoving issues under the rug for a later generation to deal with. This is OUR moment in history to insist on change and make the world a better place.
Why this matters to us
The issue of inequality hits close to home for the Doriot team. Last year, we started working on Doriot because we could no longer stand for the stifling of entrepreneurial innovation, while seeing the biggest wealth-generated opportunities kept behind the closed doors of venture capital – inaccessible to the majority of Americans. Did you know that startups are the biggest job creators in our economy? It goes without saying this is where the innovation happens, too. And yet, a staggering majority of entrepreneurs (to the tune of nearly 80%) who actually get the chance to build something are white. Get ready to cringe again because, what’s worse is that, of the remaining 20%, “JUST 1% OF VENTURE-BACKED FOUNDERS WERE BLACK.” Systemic racism and prejudice? We think yes. How can we expect people to succeed if they don’t ever get a chance? People can’t just launch and grow businesses without capital. And, how can we expect to not only level the playing field, but expand it, if the same few people at the top continue to have all the investing power, deciding what our future looks like and who builds it? We’re not out to play the blame game. But, we are here to challenge and disrupt the status quo – to create a future in which everyone can be educated and empowered to invest in startups.
While we’re inspired by this mission to build a more equitable future in the entrepreneurial economy, we believe that what’s happening RIGHT NOW demands just as much, if not more more, of our attention. We’re inspired and moved by the outpouring of global support and action for Black Lives Matter. We all have our part to play, so let’s learn how to act now.
What can I do to help?
For some of us, it can be intimidating to know where to start. This post is for all those whose hearts are there, but who might be paralyzed by the fear of offending others or not knowing the best thing to do. After all, there are so many ways to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. We stand by all those who are out there protesting peacefully in the streets. It’s also ok if that can’t be you in this moment. The important thing is to act in solidarity in the ways that you can – whether that’s with your time, voice, money, or skills.
Earlier this week, we talked about a few ways in which you can support Black Lives Matter – by voting, donating, joining BLM, and signing petitions. But, let’s take a step back and think about how we can be informed in the right ways to talk about what’s going on, with each other and online.
A great place to start is with this Black Lives Matter subreddit post: “What can I do to help?” – a General list of Dos and Don’ts for interacting with black strangers, friends, and family. This breakdown will help you understand how to best contribute to the Black Lives Matter conversation – on- and offline.
We also recommend investing a bit more time in your anti-racist education, if you haven’t already, with the documentary 13th by Ava DuVernay (on Netflix) and the book The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. These are some of the best works that make the argument for the existence of current day systematic inequalities.
Now, if you’re looking for a long laundry list of things to read, watch, and listen to, you’ll have to look elsewhere – there are a lot of good ones! And, we encourage you to take advantage of them. But, a word of caution: don’t get stuck reading and watching things forever. This time is more about ACTION. Activism comes in many forms, and you can pick the right one for you.
If you have the financial resources, you can help RIGHT NOW is by donating to a bail fund. This one helps fund bail bonds for George Floyd protestors. There’s an ever-growing list of local bail funds on this public Google doc, as well, to make donations to localized organizations.
Other examples of financial activism to consider are: GoFundMe’s for black-owned businesses and, of course, fundraisers for victims.
Share resources, donation opportunities, and constructive commentary online – keep the conversation going. If you get out and protest, do it peacefully, respectfully, and safely.
However you choose to participate, you will make a difference. You matter in helping bring about change that is long overdue. Let’s make systemic racism and discrimination a thing of the past. Let’s create a world in which everyone has access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, or beliefs.