This Must Change

To Our Brooklyn Neighbors:

We stand in solidarity with all of our fellow citizens who are using nonviolent action to demand justice for George Floyd and the scores of other black people who have died at the hands of law enforcement. In a democratic society, the state has a monopoly on the legal use of force, but the legitimacy of that monopoly requires that all citizens be treated equally under the rule of law. The fact that African Americans accounted for one third of the people killed by police from 2013-2019 directly undermines the rule of law.

This must change.

By the same token, we unequivocally repudiate the use of violence in bringing about this change. Riots, chaos, and looting are not legitimate means of dissent. These tactics further corrode the rule of law and undermine the legitimacy of our demands for reform and accountability.

We also recognize that racialized policing is but one facet of America’s long history of racism and white supremacy. As business owners, we have a special responsibility to remedy the ways in which capitalism has, over the course of our nation’s history, been wielded as a weapon of white supremacy. American slavery was, first and foremost, an economic system that relied on the exploitation of black labor and the brutalization of black bodies.

When America abandoned Reconstruction, white militias, land owners, and politicians embarked on a campaign of terror to roll back the economic and political gains African Americans had gained after the Civil War. State sponsored terrorism and economic expropriation sparked the Great Migration and eventually gave rise to the civil rights movement. In the North, white industrialists used African Americans as strikebreakers, while white-owned banks discriminated against black borrowers and used redlining to enforce housing and school segregation. Even today, African Americans, on average, have less household wealth, lower savings, and less access to credit than whites.

As business owners, we have a special obligation to rectify these historic wrongs by building a fairer, more just economic system.

We will focus on three areas:

Capital. We renew our commitment to giving 5% of net profits to addressing systemic racism by expanding access to capital and supporting policies that remedy historic injustice.

Culture. We affirm our commitment to building a diverse, inclusive, and resilient culture at our company.

Community. We commit to supporting the work of our fellow citizens as they push for accountability and justice through nonviolent action.

As business owners, we believe that profit, community, and social justice are compatible. Leading by example, we strive to demonstrate how business, structured thoughtfully and managed with integrity, can help create a more resilient and equitable economy—and a better, more just society.

We invite you to join us.