Like you, I’m saddened and disturbed by the images I’ve seen passing across my screens in recent days. The life being crushed out of George Floyd. In the days before him, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery gunned down in senseless, horrific violence. Our nation is torn, and across the chasm we see hostility and rage.
I have struggled as an individual to understand how to respond. I have been struggling to know how our company should respond. Knowing my perspective was limited, I found this statement by Kali Thorne Ladd very clarifying and uplifting.
In thinking about how Indow relates to this crisis, the company value which resonates as a guide for me is ‘Each other.’ At Indow, when we say we value each other, it means, in part, the community inside Indow will thrive when we respect and support each other. It says part of our vision is to provide prosperity for our community as we grow. This value also roots us in the Portland community, and we want our work at Indow to help Portland flourish.
How can we fully enjoy our hard-won prosperity when members of our Portland community suffer from a systematic denial of opportunities? Racism is one of the ugliest of human failings—is it based in some primitive, animalistic instinct? Ironic, if true, for racists so often seek to reduce others to animals.
Racism has its legacy in the Albina District where our factory is located. Black Portlanders once lived primarily right there, in the area around where we work. Racism lives on in Portland, and as part of Portland’s fabric, I think Indow needs to help amplify the voices advocating for sensible police reforms to move towards a more diverse and inclusive future.
I am still considering how we can best do this. I have asked for Indow team member input and now invite you to let me know your thoughts. Early actions I think we could take would include:
- Supporting the Albina Vision project, to transform the spaces around our factory into a more inclusive and sustaining community.
- Buying from local Black owned businesses.
- Advocating that our business association, BBPDX, take up police reform and racial justice as its next focus.
- Diversity can be a great strength, so discussing our hiring practices as a team to encourage more diversity within our staff.
- Exploring the intersectionality of historic preservation, housing policies, and climate change
Above and beyond this, I think it’s absolutely critical we all lend our tireless support to leaders who will move our country forward, not decades or centuries backward, on race. We should call on these leaders to center a concern for truthful, respectful, and inclusive dialog which is the only path forward for our democracy and nation.
CEO and Founder of Indow