DRK Foundation’s Public Statement Regarding Racial Injustice in the United States

As so many have said this past week, our Nation is in a profound state of turmoil over centuries of racial injustices. While there is deep sadness and outrage, there is also hope in the hearts of many. Hope that by working together and supporting entrepreneurs we will create real change. Hope that every person who has breath also has equal protection by the law and by those hired to serve, protect, and heal. Hope that we can transform our country and the world for the better. As Cheryl Dorsey stated in her letter last week, “what happened in America this week is not new.” The “social contract” that Trevor Noah speaks of—”that unwritten foundational understanding between members of a community about the mutual commitments each of us make to each other” is broken for too many Americans. The very fact that senseless deaths of African Americans at the hands of those hired to serve and protect continued, unabated, during a global pandemic where African Americans are also dying at higher rates in our Nation reflects the systemic nature of racial injustice.

No single entity, no single community, no single policy can affect the necessary change that has been denied for far too long. We are at an inflection point. And while there are no simple answers, lasting change can take place. It starts with each and every one of us.

DRK stands in solidarity with those that call for systemic change. Our Nation needs action, not platitudes or oration, and that is where we will focus our efforts. For the better part of 17 years, we have sought out and supported early-stage organizations tackling some of society’s most complicated problems. We know we need to do more, especially now. That is why we are embarking on a dramatically increased effort to reach out to communities and partners who are not connected to our work and have not had pathways to our community. We will work with them to find meaningful ways to collaborate and fight injustices. And while we are funding and supporting incredible organizations in the social justice sector, it is clearly not enough. Over the next 60 days, we will convene social movement builders, community organizers, mayors, and others to plan new workstreams that can drastically increase opportunity for social change and racial justice. We will implement those workstreams with designated funds. Unlike our rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was limited in time, this effort is not time-barred and will be part of our work for decades to come.

Like racial injustices and pandemics in the past, the senseless death of George Floyd and countless others as well as the COVID-19 pandemic have spotlighted systemic racism and persistent inequalities. What’s different this time? We hope that patience has worn thin to a two-tier status here in the United States and that inequities will no longer be tolerated. We will prioritize this in our pipeline, in our service, in our work, and more importantly, in our lives. Judge us not by our words, but by our actions as we stand together and choose to fight for a Nation where ALL people are treated equally.