Update 2/25/21: A follow-up to all our plans listed below can be viewed here.
The team at Serial Box is personally and collectively committed to the complete dismantling of systemic racism and white body supremacy. (This adjustment to the typical phrasing of ‘white supremacy’ is from Resmaa Menakam who writes and talks about how the intellectualizing of racism is part of the reason we haven’t made more progress in rooting it out.)
These are our plans to date. They will evolve and we will update this post each quarter, so we can hold ourselves accountable for progress in building race equity and inclusion.
During Q3 2020
—Our Race Equity & Inclusivity Committee will review and strengthen our hiring practices, our creative collaborator recruitment practices, and our ongoing company operations to ensure that inclusivity practices are threaded into all of our work and routines.
—We will elect a fifth board member to broaden our perspective (currently our board is comprised of a Chinese American man, a white woman, and two white men).
—We will sign 5 new projects by Black authors.
—We will add 30 stories by Black authors with Black narrators and Black cover artists to our Serial Box Shorts line.
—We now provide a Reading Benefit for employees to cover the cost of anti-racist self-education. We developed a list of books together, along with a list of Black-owned bookstores to support—here is a link to it. We plan to keep adding to it and welcome suggestions from our listeners, readers, and collaborators. Please write to us at [email protected] if you have suggestions.
A personal note from our CEO Molly Barton
In the weeks since the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, like you, I have felt horror, shock, fear, and disgust. But gradually—as I witnessed the beautiful surge of action in the streets, the bursting, bubbling, raw drive to overturn, to dismantle, to force a reckoning—I started to ease into an abiding gratitude. I even felt glimmers of excitement about the new reality we can collectively create on the other side of this great dismantling.
As leader of Serial Box, I’ve felt caught between wanting to urgently and meaningfully support the Black Lives Matter movement, but not wanting to take actions that were performative, one-time, or virtue-signaling. I did not want to take actions simply to make ourselves feel better about the painful reality of anti-Blackness and how it has been allowed to persist all around us and within us.
Instead I wanted to focus on fully taking in my own discomfort, pain, sorrow. And I committed to listening to, learning from, and working on the inspiring ideas that my team brings to life through their own actions in their personal lives and within our Serial Box community.
To that end, we convened a roundtable within the team the day after Trump cleared the protestors from in front of the White House in an act described by Senator Booker as "trampling upon the most sacred right of this nation, to assemble, to petition, to protest. What this president did was to make a mockery of our civil rights." Like you, we were raw and deeply angry.
The first roundtable conversation was a combination of processing and beginning to put together our action plan. We had already donated to Black Visions Collective and the NAACP, many of us attended protests, called politicians demanding action, and amplified support for the protests on personal and company social accounts. But we all wanted to invite much deeper change into our organization and our lives.
The list we’ve shared above is our initial short list of what we will do in the next three months. The actions our team members are taking are done with an eye to the future. Not just what we can do this quarter, but what we can do by the end of this year, next year, and in the decades to come. For now, we are actively working on the initiatives listed above, we are reading and listening widely, and I’ll be back next quarter with an update on our progress.