At Galileo, we teach innovation, and we know that innovation is not just about inventing the coolest new tech gadget. In fact, our organization’s name invokes the rebellious spirit of a great thinker who faced house arrest as a result of his original thinking. As we often say here, “Innovation is about changing the world, and it’s radical at times.” This is a time that calls for radical thinking and radical progress. Now’s the time for all of us to rise up and do just that. Actually, it’s far overdue.
As Galileans, we actively stand with our Black camper families and colleagues, and against anti-Blackness and racism—and we commit to the long road ahead. The pandemic has brought pain and loss to many communities and severely and disproportionately impacted people of color. In addition, Black people have been further traumatized by the horrible killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and George Floyd that have occurred or been brought to light over the past few weeks. And yet, we know the disproportionate impact of the pandemic and the racism we are seeing is not new—systemic and individual racism has plagued our country from the beginning. We recognize that this moment is an opportunity for us as a community, and for Americans as a society, to come together and take real action toward justice.
At Galileo, we believe that it is our responsibility to envision and create a better world; a world in which ALL people can be actors in their own lives rather than recipients of what the world gives them; a world in which all people can safely and fully lead those lives in the way they envision; a world in which people with more privilege use it to create equity.
We also know we have to practice what we teach. Here’s what we are doing so far to actively stand against racism:
- Renewing our commitment to our multi-year Inclusion & Diversity initiative , including additional trainings for employees, and continued progress toward hiring goals in 2020 and new goals in 2021 (in 2019, we met our goal of 35% of all new Headquarters & Camp Director hires being people who identified as part of underrepresented race groups)
- Renewing our commitment to camper equity including additional access to online classes for scholarship campers
- Creating opportunities for our staff to reflect about the impact of racism in America, delve into antiracist resources, and share learnings and tools, including weekly internal discussion sessions using these resources
- Creating a virtual safe black space for our Black camp staff members to connect and share
- Sharing resources via social media for parents and educators, like Teaching Tolerance’s section on race and equity, and the read aloud of A Kids Book About Racism.
We deeply value our Black camper families and the remarkable contributions our Black colleagues have made to building our culture and our business. And, although we made a brief statement of support last week and have been intentionally working toward inclusion and diversity goals for the past few years, our journey certainly has not been without bumps, and we know we have significant work to do to be stronger anti-racist advocates. Just this week, in one of our HQ team meetings, we had a real-time, and profound, teachable moment that illustrates how much work we have to do. To be candid, at times we have even lacked consensus about how we could best speak to our families and how to best support our community during this painful time. We recognize that this work is hard, and has no easy answers, and takes our consistent attention. Those of us with racial or ethnic privilege have to learn to live with discomfort and not rush to solutions, while still working hard toward solutions. And we are committed to continuing to do the work.
There are some questions that we are asking ourselves right now:
- How can Galileo be a more anti-racist organization?
- How can we create a more inclusive camp experience for Black campers and their families, and a more inclusive workplace culture for Black staff across our Headquarters and camp staff teams?
- How can Galileo better support BIPOC in our communities?
- How can we support other organizations that are doing this work?
- How can we advocate to change systemic racism?
- How can Galileo work for equity?
If you have ideas or suggestions for us along these lines (or anything else), you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you; after all, seeking feedback is an integral part of being a Galileo innovator. While the weight of the world is heavy right now, we believe that the world can change and that we can change it together, one step at a time. Thank you for being a part of our community.