We were about 80% of the way through the process of transitioning a small, local blog - featuring articles from the young professional community - into a standalone “online publication”. Our rollout: assemble a small team, build a website, establish a logo and brand, migrate our old articles over to the new site, etc., was structured and on time, but the world had other plans.
7 or so months in, and 80% through the rollout, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd. Violent and hideous yet still, just a stone on a mountain of injustice. But this stone felt different; the world finally seemed to wake up.
Allies everywhere are making public commitments to call out racism when they see it, I’m thankful. I really am. But it seems that it’s only overt, violent instances of racism that spark any sort of response.
In between each violent, televised act, are a thousand subtle cuts of discrimination. The kind of stuff that’s so easily unrecognized, dismissed, or rationalized as a joke or innocent misuse of words.
Not violent, not overt, but in aggregate a painful reminder of one's place.
An allies' ignorance (willful or genuine) fuels the complex systems of racism, while Black silence creates unnecessary burden that can have permanent, life shortening effect.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, adult Blacks are 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than adult whites. (source)
Racial discrimination contributes to accelerated physiologic weathering and health declines among African Americans through its impact on biological systems (source)
This... is death by a thousand cuts. And this, is why the rollout of our online publication had to change course.
Sometimes circumstance dictates action, and so without a brand, we're rolling out our 1000 Cuts campaign with a pretty straight forward objective: Provide space for Black voices to be heard, and space for willing, non-black allies and advocates to learn.
In about 48 hours, we threw together a landing page, collected and formatted a handful of stories (we'll need more) and published the campaign site without a brand.
We're collecting stories from Black citizens that highlight the subtle, often ignored, microaggressive experiences and will continue to publish these stories as fast as they come in - as fast as we can - but will be posting a story a day to our unbranded social media pages.
I'm not entirely sure what the complete publication looks like when we get around to rolling it out… but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
We have other priorities now.