At CLEVER, our corporate values center around the ideas of empowerment, being authentic, and being exceptional. These are not words that scored the highest in a branding exercise. They are words borne out of our personal values and chosen together as a company.
That said, we are painfully aware that there are people in this country who must work harder to show up in life as their most empowered, authentic, exceptional selves. The systems currently in place in this country — from education to healthcare to criminal justice to name a few — disproportionately favor white people at the expense of Black people. We saw this most recently and horrifically when George Floyd, a man who was cuffed, on the ground, and not an imminent threat to anyone, was choked to death over the course of 8 minutes while bystanders begged for his life. We are outraged by this.
The brutalization of Black people, especially by police, must stop.
Black pain, voices, and lives matter.
It is the responsibility of white people to dismantle systemic white supremacy.
We’ve always been a company that is proud of our values-based leadership. We are proud of our pro bono record supporting non-profits whose missions are to uplift women and girls of color. We strive to create a safe, inclusive, transparent, and trusting work environment.
We are women- and woman-of-color-led, and view everything we do through that lens. And yet, the past week has taught us that we can and must do better.
We’ve been proud that diversity has been a CLEVER core value since we started ten years ago. And yet, the past week has taught us that we can and must do better.
To our Black community: we see you, we love you, we stand with you, and we will fight for you.
We are listening.
We are learning.
We start effecting change now.
We are in the process of auditing and amending all of our HR policies — with input from our diverse staff — with the goal of making our BIPOC colleagues feel safe and supported. We’re asking for help when we don’t know the answers. We’ve already made some immediate, visible changes.
We’re having hard conversations with our leadership team and staff. Many of us are uncomfortable. We are sitting with that discomfort because we understand that our discomfort is what happens when we shine a light on problems we’ve failed to address despite our best intentions.
We are critically evaluating our influencer network and will ensure it includes more diverse members, specifically, more Black influencers in every category.
We are committed to getting more Black influencers paid for their work through our programs.
We are committed to amplifying Black voices in our community because amplifying voices is what we do.
We are committed to doing whatever it takes to create a more just and equal company and world. This is just the beginning.
We’d also like to amplify these organizations and efforts:
Not everyone can be on the front lines, but everyone can do something. In our industry, we can use our marketing, communications, and creative skills in support of anti-racism and social justice efforts, and to amplify Black experiences. We urge you to find a way. There is work to be done so everyone in this country can be free to be empowered, authentic, and exceptional. Please join us in this fight.
Cat, Kristy, and Stefania