Today, June 19th, is celebrated nationwide as ‘Juneteenth’, recognizing the day in 1865 when, more than 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, it was made clear that former Slaves were free men and women in all states in the Union, including Texas. More than 150 years later Juneteenth once again comes at a time when we can and should be focusing our energy on understanding the history and experience of Black people in this country (and worldwide) and promoting their rights and freedoms as no different than those of any of us. This includes freedom from racism, discrimination, oppression and bias.
On June 2nd, DomainTools issued a statement recognizing our need to change alongside so many people, organizations, and institutions in our country, and we committed to doing so. As a starting point, we have donated a total of $25,000 to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, Black Girls CODE, and the Equal Justice Initiative.
But there is so much more to do. DomainTools had already created a task force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion earlier in 2020 and their work continues to inform our actions. Every employee at our firm will participate in training on topics like supporting and participating in an inclusive culture, how to be aware of and eliminate unconscious bias, and being an effective ally. This training will also become part of our onboarding curriculum for every new employee. Furthermore, we are committed to seeking out and hiring diverse talent to ensure we promote equity and representation in all levels of the firm.
Recognizing the power of language, and building on the very good early work being done in parallel at other security and technology companies, DomainTools will be eliminating the use of ‘blacklist’ and ‘whitelist’ within our organization. This means in our products, in our documentation, in our marketing materials and in our own vernacular internally and externally. Appropriately, to the best of our ability we will also be working to remove any usage of the ‘master/slave’ terminology in reference to databases and certain computer system architectures. I encourage other companies to do the same. Language matters.
Take a moment today to reflect on the Black experience in America. 155 years is about two human lifetimes. At my age that doesn’t seem that long. Yet before that Black men and women were not free people in this country. And in 2020 we still have to ask ourselves, and them, how much further we need to go to truly achieve their full freedom and equality. But also recognize that Juneteenth is a celebration and deservedly so. I hope that spirit will persist, and that energy will continue to inspire all of us to action tomorrow.