June 19, 2020
Eight minutes and 46 seconds. Begging for his life. Saying, “I can’t breathe.” Calling out for his deceased mother as he was killed, slowly, by an individual who swore an oath to his fellow citizens and country to serve and protect. George Floyd. We say his name and mourn the loss of a life that mattered in the world. We mourn the many lives that have been lost to racial injustice most recently and for many generations including Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Jamar Clark, Breonna Taylor, Freddy Gray, Erik Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. The theft of Black lives continues 400 years after the first slaves were stolen from their homes in Africa and brought to colonial America, Latin America, and other places around the world. Black people’s labor, spouses, children, humanity and dignity have been systematically extracted as a significant source of raw material that built the United States’ foundation. Through this foundation and its systems, the abuse continues to blight Black lives every day.
We stand behind and alongside the Black Lives Matter movement – “George Floyd couldn’t breathe. We can’t either.” We acknowledge that we, Singularity University, have been too silent in the past. We have breathed comfortably while our fellow humans have suffered, often in silence.
The time for change is now. For the past month, our team at Singularity University has been listening hard and learning. We formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council composed of staff, faculty, and experts in our community. We have engaged in deep and meaningful conversations about what we can do — individually and collectively — to advance racial and social justice in our company and communities. We have been asking ourselves: What role can Singularity University play to ensure that Black lives matter in reality? How can we activate our impact-driven company and community to actively include Black Lives as we leverage technology to create an abundant and equitable future for all?
We recognize learning to breathe together as one collective yet distinct human race is a journey. Although our journey at Singularity University has endured some starts and stops, we are for the first time coming together as an entire organization to take immediate action and set concrete milestones to move the needle today. Our impact-driven mission depends on it. We commit to improving human lives through the intentional creation of futures in which there is abundance, and by extension, equity for all.
We recognize that as a company we have a ways to go and that these statements without action mean nothing. We will update our website in weeks to come with tangible ways we at Singularity University and our global community will put our words into action. We encourage you to join us in unlearning, shifting mindsets, and positively impacting lives of people around the world.
Erik Anderson, Executive Chairman, SU
Steve Leonard, Chief Executive Officer, SU
Dr. Christyna Serrano, DEI Council Chair
Kristin Ekkens, DEI Council
Ryan Meredith, DEI Council
James Del, DEI Council
Dr. Tiffany Vora, DEI Council
Dr. Jose Morey, DEI Council
Andre Wegner, DEI Council
Kate Sassoon, DEI Advisor