We on the Decoupled Days organizing team share in the deep grief and unfathomable pain Black people everywhere are feeling after the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, David McAtee, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and far too many others. All of us reacted with fury and horror to the unceasing senseless killings of Black people at the hands of law enforcement officers, sworn to serve and protect, and racist armed white vigilantes.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community and raise our voices in unequivocal support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We denounce all manifestations of and demand an end to anti-Blackness, police violence, and white supremacy in our country and around the world.
Systemic racism, structural oppression, and white supremacy buttressed by privilege have been responsible for so much more than the visible assassinations of Black people. Since the start of slavery on American shores no less than four centuries ago, these injustices have continued to destroy Black communities today with persistent segregation in housing and education, severe economic inequality and housing instability, food deserts and failing infrastructure, mass incarceration and wrongful convictions, environmental pollution and medical racism, and, of course, the disproportionate death toll of the coronavirus pandemic among Black people.
Today, the Decoupled Days organizing team is taking a stand, both as a technology conference serving as one of many gatekeepers for our industry and as a non-profit, community-led collective serving New York City. We are backing our words with specific actions that we will take as an organization:
- Firstly, the Decoupled Days organizing team pledges to donate $1,000 from our conference to Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization that works to increase the number of Black women in STEM fields. We are grateful to our community for your generosity in donating to help offset our revenue losses due to the pandemic this year, but we now ask that you also direct donations to organizations working to support Black technologists, like Black Girls Code. We also encourage you to aid other antiracist organizations in need of your financial contributions, such as the Black Visions Collective, Color of Change, Reclaim the Block, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Bail Out, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Loveland Foundation, and the Marshall Project. We also request that you donate to the funds for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and others who have fallen victim to unpunished police violence and racist white vigilantes.
- Secondly, the Decoupled Days organizing team expresses full-throated support for calls by George Floyd’s family for a national task force to end police violence and hold law enforcement officials accountable nationwide. We demand immediate investigations into and full consequences for the inexcusable incidents of police violence continuing all over the country. We demand that Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea investigate, discipline, terminate, and charge the police officers responsible for the unconscionable and brutalizing tactics we have witnessed in recent days in New York City and Buffalo.
- Thirdly, the Decoupled Days organizing team commits to redoubling and widening our efforts to foster more inclusive speaker lineups. Since our first edition in 2017, we have consistently increased the proportion of conference content presented by speakers who are members of underrepresented minorities.
- In 2017, though inclusion was important to us, we made no formal commitment as an organization. Ultimately, 15.4% of all accepted sessions were submitted by speakers from underrepresented groups.
- In 2018, we committed to devoting more than 25% of all accepted sessions to speakers from marginalized and oppressed minorities or first-time speakers. Ultimately, 42.8% of accepted sessions were submitted by speakers from underrepresented groups or first-time speakers.
- In 2019, we committed to devoting more than 35% of all accepted sessions to speakers from marginalized and oppressed minorities. Ultimately, 42.9% of accepted sessions were submitted by speakers from underrepresented groups.
- In 2020, we committed to devoting more than 45% of all accepted sessions to speakers from marginalized and oppressed minorities. This year, 50% of accepted sessions were submitted by speakers from underrepresented groups.
- In response to feedback in 2018 about the diversity of our organizing team, we continue to work towards better representation within our organization. Today, we have greater gender and ethnic diversity than we did in 2018, but we still have a lot of work to do to improve ourselves from within.
We ask that you join us in combating anti-Blackness, police violence, and white supremacy in New York City, across the United States, and around the world. We stand united with Black people globally and resolutely add our voice to repeat, once again, that Black Lives Matter.
The Decoupled Days organizing team