Last week we co-hosted the inaugural meeting of Businesses for Black Lives with TMI Consulting. #B4BL is an initiative to bring businesses, law enforcement, and government stakeholders together to acknowledge and engage in genuine dialogue regarding areas of racism in the U.S.criminal justice system.
It was an honor to have business owners and law enforcement officials from the city of Richmond all gathered at our office, having an open and honest conversation about race and policing. Here's a recap of our time and how it came about.
After a string of highly publicized killings of unarmed African Americans at the hands of the police and the backlash against the police (both violent and peaceful), many were and are left feeling powerless and afraid.
In the wake of the Terence Crutcher killing, we began asking ourselves if there was anything we could do as a company to make things better. We reached out to some other businesses and found that we were not alone in wanting to do something to help.
At first, we thought about some form of protest. But we quickly found that there was more of a desire for conversation and community. We also heard clearly that our local police department in Richmond was actually one of the best when it came to preventing the use of excessive force.
So on November 9th, we gathered together at our office with other businesses and members of the Richmond PD and Chesterfield County PD to talk. Over the course of two hours, we heard from the police, asked questions, and brainstormed about how businesses could work together with law enforcement to make our communities safe for all people.
From the moment the conversation began, we could tell that the Richmond PD and Chesterfield PD had devoted significant time, energy, and resources in responding to the issue of police brutality. We also heard from the police themselves about some of the ways that they believe businesses can come alongside of their work. It was an inspiring time and what we believe will be the beginning of conversations all over the country.
We found that both sides were eager to continue talking and wanted to find ways to work together to keep communities safe. Going forward, we're inviting more businesses to join the dialogue and to use their influence and resources for good.
If you would like to learn more, check out http://b4bl.com.
Watch the video replay: