The three months since George Floyd’s murder have proven that valuing and protecting black lives remains as necessary as ever. This week, we were reminded of the stark racial injustices of this country as another Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by police in front of his three children, leaving him paralyzed and the Wisconsin community shaken. At Fairwinds, we remain committed to the Movement for Black Lives—we will continue to influence justice and equity nationally and within the tech space.
In July, we published a statement about our commitment. Over the past month, we have been hard at work on the initiatives we outlined. Here is an update:
Develop an action plan to add and sustain Black leadership on our board and executive team
We have developed a strong pipeline of Black Board directors. During Fairwinds’ next fundraising round, we will have the opportunity to bring on a new Board member from a pool of diverse candidates. We are also building a pipeline of Black candidates for future executive leadership positions that will be needed as the company continues to grow. Additionally, earlier this month Fairwinds committed to working with the broader tech community by signing on to the MassTLC Diversity and Inclusion initiative.
Provide one Black-owned business backend infrastructure support for 3-6 months
We have partnered with Tech for Black Founders to offer a set of free services and software for a 12-month period to a Black-owned business. If you know Black founders that would find this useful, please share this resource with them and encourage them to apply via the link or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Create scholarship funding for aspiring Black youth
We have partnered with the Turing School of Software and Design to create a new scholarship for incoming and current students who identify as BIPOC and are pursuing a career in technology. As well, we have partnered with their Black Student Association to elevate networking and employment opportunities in recognition that these opportunities are more limited. Fairwinds will also be supporting BSA with direct networking and job prep strategies with our team.
Develop a process around recruiting and using minority-owned/led suppliers and vendors
We’ve gathered a list of all of our vendors and associated spend. We put together a diversity questionnaire for the top 20 vendors that we do the most business with, and we’ve sent it to them. The results will establish our starting point, and then we will work to define our goals. In the meantime, we are also using this questionnaire for any new vendors we are recruiting and working to build a more diverse pipeline.
We will not slow down our efforts to address the deeply seated roots of racism in our country. The Fairwinds team will continue to work toward healing and justice and remains committed to strive for diversity and inclusion for the long-term. Look for another update on our progress later this year.