The Story Behind Black Belonging Matters
This isn’t the type of blog post one typically sees on a job board, I know. But, we aren’t your typical job board. We are committed not just to equity in employment, and advancing career options of Black people and their allies, but, we are also committed to helping to fight systematic racism. As this is our very first blog post, I think it important to discuss the motivation behind our company’s existence.
My father was unjustifiably killed by the police. Like all families who have been victimized by police violence, my father’s murder left an indelible impact on my life, in more ways than one. Forty plus years after his murder, reports of unjustified police killings still evoke pain, sadness, and anger, perhaps more so for me (and those directly affected by police brutality), than for those who have never had a loved one killed by the police.
A lawyer by trade, I went to law school so that I could fight police brutality. I left law school with enough knowledge to feel as though I could never make a change. Police brutality in America is tied to racism, and racism is systematic. There were too many hurdles to cross.
Tragically, Trayvon Martin was murdered while I was in law school. As a result, three amazing women, Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, founded Black Lives Matter. These women have accomplished things that I thought were impossible. I have never met them, but I hold them and their work in high regard. What they have accomplished is nothing short of amazing. I am in awe of them, and of everyone who is engaged in the tireless, sustained effort and giving of themselves to fight police brutality and systematic racism.
I still haven’t purposefully watched the video of George Floyd’s killing. I don’t know that I ever will. But, I haven’t been able to hide from snippets of the video of his life draining away. It guts me. The days after his killing were filled with tears, for George, his family, and, for my Black children. If I am being honest, I fell into despair. I saw my fellow Black people calling for justice, but, it was an all too familiar cry. I, like so many other Black people, felt alone.
But then some miraculous things happened. First, I had some allies reach out to me to offer support. It was comforting to know that I, and Black people in general, were not alone, and, that others empathized with our pain.
Without warning, the world – Black people and our allies – stood up and shouted in unison that Black Lives Matter. For the first time, it felt as though everyone else finally understood what Black people have been experiencing all our lives.
I have so much faith in the Black Lives Matter movement, and in our youth. Never have I been as optimistic about things changing, as I have been since witnessing how the world decried the killing of George Floyd. How the world decried white supremacy. How the world has been trying to figure out how to finally end systematic racism.
As the world joined Black people in our fight, Ben & Jerry’s ramped up their support for Black Lives Matter. They issued a powerful, unequivocal statement about the need to fight systematic racism.
I didn’t care if it was harvesting honey from the bees they have been working to re-populate (or that I know nothing about bee keeping), I wanted to work for Ben & Jerry’s! If you haven’t read their statement, you can find it in the link below.
Following Ben & Jerry’s statement, through my interactions with other Black people, it became clear that so many of us felt the same – we wanted to work within organizations like Ben & Jerry’s. We longed for work environments where we truly were free to be. We longed to work within organizations that were committed enough to our lives, that they were willing to say publicly, and without reservation, that Black Lives Matter, and, that “We must dismantle white supremacy.”
It is through this longing that the idea for Black Belonging Matters was born. The intent was to create a safe space for Black people and their allies.
If we are to dismantle white supremacy, we must attack systematic racism on all fronts. One way to attack systemic racism is by improving career options and work environments for Black people. Through improved career options and work environments, Black people are better empowered to fight against the systematic racism that pervades other facets of our lives and our very existence.
Black Belonging Matters’ leadership team is made up of three Black women of Caribbean descent – experts in our respective fields, with over 40 years of combined experience in employee relations, human resources, cultural competence, diversity and inclusion, recruiting, and, retaining employees. We are committed to improving career options for Black people and our allies. This is our contribution to the herculean effort to dismantle systematic racism.
- Provide job seekers with an online job portal where they can readily identify employers who are truly committed to creating a sense of belonging for Black employees, and we,
- Provide organizations with top tier, full-scale services that promote, create and support equity and a sense of belonging for Black people in the workplace.
This is a bold and ambitious undertaking, but one that we believe is necessary, and will lead to positive outcomes for Black people, their allies, organizations, America, and, if we all work together, the world.
BTW Ben & Jerry’s, if you’re reading this, we’d love to work with you!
Link to Ben & Jerry’s Statement: