On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas and announced that the Civil War had ended and that all enslaved people were free.
News of the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, had been kept from the enslaved people in Galveston for two and a half years. In her 1941 interview with John Henry Faulk, Laura Smalley, born into slavery in Texas, recalled that delay in her explanation of the significance of June 19th.
Like so many efforts made to correct radical systemic injustices, the history of Juneteenth is one of overdue action—of being late to doing the right thing.
In recognition of this fact, the team at Bird is taking concrete steps this Pride month to organize and commit ourselves to being meaningful allies in the fight against all forms of racism and discrimination, particularly for communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community. We recognize that we have not only an opportunity but an obligation to use our platform for the greater good. That’s why we’ve developed Bird’s Social Responsibility Commitment and are laying the foundation for a sustained push towards diversity and equality.
In the interest of transparency, following are some of the things we’re doing to support Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer communities within both our organization and the cities we serve:
- Juneteenth is now a company wide holiday to recognize and honor Black history
- We will celebrate Pride month by highlighting the Black LGBTQ+ community on our social media platforms and in rider email campaigns
- We will diversify our board based on race, gender, and experience with an emphasis on recruiting from the Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) or other underrepresented communities
- Our Recruiting and Talent teams are restructuring hiring process across all levels to mitigate bias and ensure more diversity
- We are auditing both existing and future vendors to identify where we need to diversify, including calling out and/or ending contracts with vendors who do not support our values
- We are implementing mandatory live Inclusive Leadership and Inclusive Culture training sessions for all team members
- Internal employee fundraising events, matched by Bird, will be held for select organizations, beginning with a Black Lives Matter fundraiser encompassing individual and company donations
This list is not exhaustive, and represents only the beginning of our journey. There’s more that we can, must and will do to support equal rights and equitable opportunities for all. We will hold ourselves accountable to our employees, to our riders and most of all to you, our community, throughout this growth process.