How should a meal kit company respond to the unconscionable death of George Floyd? Should we show solidarity on social media or pass the microphone to Black voices? Should we highlight our virtue or get out of the way (so organizers have the communication platforms they need)? Frankly, we don't know the answer, or if there is a single right answer. We do, though, know one thing for sure: We must be better. Here, our US CEO shares her thoughts.
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash
My name is Julie Marchant-Houle, and I’m the CEO of Marley Spoon, Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon's parent company, in the US. I'm writing this note in the wake of the heartbreaking and unconscionable death of George Floyd; amidst protests, dialogue, and long-overdue change; and with a solemn vow to look closely at myself and the company I work for to see how we can actively aid in dismantling systemic racism in this country.
Everyone here at Marley Spoon is reeling from the events of the past two weeks. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others, both known and unknown, should still be alive today.
I believe, as both a CEO and a private citizen, that businesses have a responsibility to drive positive change. This responsibility requires more than a fleeting commitment; it requires consistent resolve and unwavering dedication to doing the daily work of listening, learning, and taking real action toward eliminating violence and oppression. Here is what Marley Spoon is doing to meet this responsibility.
We must improve representation across staff, especially in leadership roles, so that it reflects the diversity of our country’s population. To achieve this, we are reviewing our hiring practices and putting new standards in place. In addition, we will work with more BIPOC vendors; establish paid internships for BIPOC students seeking careers in food; and develop a “pathway to promotion” program for our fulfillment center staff. These initiatives will be ongoing.
Marley Spoon is a global business, and helping our employees from around the world understand the uniquely Black American experience is essential as we work to become better allies. To make this happen, we’re creating a library of BIPOC-centered literature and learning tools; forming listening groups to facilitate meaningful conversations; and establishing a diversity council to guide our efforts to completion. Additionally—because we believe volunteering is as much about learning as it is about giving—we are empowering our US employees to take three service days per year wherein they can donate their time and talent to organizations focused on racial justice.
We are making two types of donations: First, a $25,000 contribution to The Black Lives Matter Global Network; Second, an employee donation match to the NAACP, ACLU, The Black Lives Matter Global Network, and the Color of Change Education Fund up to $20,000.
There is so much work to be done. We will take these steps and add to them as that work requires. As a business, we will make space for unheard voices and necessary dialogue, and we will focus on the deep internal work required to drive meaningful change.
We can do better. We must do better. To this, I am wholeheartedly committed.