In June, we shared Postlight’s commitment to action in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, in which we pledged time, talent, and an investment of $300,000 to drive change that benefits Black people. As part of that effort, Postlight established an employee-led Action Committee, made up of stakeholders from our product management, design, engineering, and operations teams. The Action Committee’s broad and long-term mandate is to advance human rights. In 2020, we’re focusing on racial injustice.
The Action Committee’s first order of business was to allocate half of the $300,000 sum we pledged among organizations that are driving change that benefits Black people. We’re happy to report that this month, we donated $150,000 divided between three incredible organizations. We’ll announce a second round of giving to nonprofits aligned with our mandate later this year.
As our committee began the process of researching nonprofit organizations that fit our mandate, we swiftly acknowledged our lack of expertise. To help us form a strategy for allocating these donations, we reached out to the staff at The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), and they emerged as a deeply knowledgeable partner.
The Movement for Black Lives is a nationwide coalition of over 150 Black-led organizations that discuss and develop policies toward a shared Vision for Black Lives. They have created a policy platform centered on six planks that fundamentally rethink the United States’ systemic, racist structures to protect and elevate Black lives. M4BL partners with a range of organizations across the country and together they create a shared vision for local organizing efforts and pushing public policy nation-wide. Their partnerships help uplift organizations focusing on ending police violence against Black people, reparations, and more, with a focus on intersectionality.
The prison population in our nation has increased by 700% since 1970 and its War on Drugs, and now makes up 25% of the world’s total. 56% of incarcerated individuals today are African Americans and Hispanics. Mass incarceration is a systemic issue that overwhelmingly affects people of color, who are oppressed by wrongful convictions and excessive prison sentences in overcrowded facilities.
We made a contribution to the Equal Justice Initiative, an organization whose work is focused on ending mass incarceration in the United States.
The work led by Equal Justice Initiative centers around advocacy for criminal justice reform, racial justice, and public education on the legacy of racial oppression in our society. Their work includes providing legal representation to people on death row, developing a re-entry program for children in prison, advocating for better prison conditions, exposing the realities of racism through reports, films, and discussion guides, and erecting memorials and historical markers that acknowledge racial injustice in the United States.
Generational poverty is a result of America’s racist social systems. Black Americans living in poverty often lack access to the financial resources for quality education, stable housing, and healthy food. This year specifically, COVID-19 has hit impoverished Black Americans harder than any demographic, and parents in particular have been burdened as the pandemic revealed America’s lack of social safety net.
The third non-profit Postlight’s Action Committee contributed to is the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). HCZ helps thousands of children and families to disrupt the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem through community-centered educational programming. Their programming, which is offered free of charge, reached over 13,000 youth in 2017 alone, spanning early childhood education all the way through college graduation.
With Postlight’s headquarters based in New York City, we wanted to direct part of this wave of giving to a local charity helping people in our own community. In the future, we hope to foster an ongoing relationship so that Postlight employees can also contribute their time and talent to further HCZ’s mission in the future.
More to Come
Through these contributions, we’re hoping to put money into the hands of experts on the ground and engage in a broader, longer conversation about civil rights and how we can contribute in meaningful ways. Later this year, we’ll be sharing more about how we at Postlight can better leverage our skills, expertise, and platform to help elevate underrepresented voices.
Here’s to the work ahead of us all.