Our June Reflections
The aftermath of George Floyd’s death has sent shockwaves throughout not just the United States, but the world, calling into question the mandate of law enforcement as well as reopening necessary dialogues on race. When juxtaposed with a vicious pandemic and turbulent economy, these recent events may feel exceptionally overwhelming and deeply uncomfortable to confront as a society. However, BORN’s identity rests on being bold and authentic – it is essential for us to stand by our convictions and be resolute in times of adversity and need.
As a forward thinking agency that is rooted in helping brands find and strengthen their digital identity, we also want to maintain a commitment to support communities in their struggle to defend their own personal identities. We affirm fully with the fight against systemic racism throughout the world and acknowledge that there must be an active, persistent effort to end the marginalization of Black lives.
We employ a very diverse and global community, many segments of whom are a direct product of the triumphs and victories of past civil rights movements and struggles for social justice. Without the contributions of the Black communities’ fight for equal treatment under the United States law during the 1960s, there would be no Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 – a hallmark piece of legislation that repealed the harsh anti-Asian and anti-Latino immigration quotas inflicted in the Immigration Act of 1924. As an agency and institution strengthened by those many immigrant diasporas that are the legacy of that legislation, we understand and acknowledge that we would not enjoy the success that we do today without the tireless work of Black activists in the 1960s. It is only right for us to show solidarity and support in turn for the crises that still continue to impact them to this day.
These movements feel painful as a society to bear and may inspire nostalgia to a time before these grievances were made so publicly known. But to those grieving and many otherwise, these struggles are not a ‘new normal’ but an everyday reality. We take some solace in knowing that the history of the United States is filled with many moments like this – it is a maverick nation rife with protest and civil disobedience that, when at its best, is fearless in challenging a privileged class or institution to better the human condition. We can only look to the national myths around eighteenth century patriots dumping tea into the Boston Harbor, nineteenth century patriots demanding an end to the institution of slavery, or the great marches of twentieth century patriots against segregation and war, to see where this energy for civil disobedience stems from. While we do not condone theft, violence, or the destruction of personal property in protest, we also would be remiss to claim those incidents as isolated only to the struggles of the George Floyd protests, and instead note that they come from an impassioned zeal to end a state-sanctioned brutality that has been unaddressed for decades, if not centuries.
Yet, one of the great successes in the American experiment rests in the consecrated belief in a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – something which racism and prejudice inherently challenges by denying or marginalizing the condition of one’s humanity and place in society. The United States Constitution has seen those sentiments enshrined over time by slowly enfranchising more and more of its peoples to have a chance at the American dream via amendments such as the fifteenth and nineteenth, which saw race, religion, and gender dismantled as qualifiers of civic participation. There is some relief in knowing that change has been historically possible and is part of the American system – but that change never came by keeping idle against racism and prejudice.
Fundamentally, prejudice of all forms is a great dampener in the will of a society and it is why, on a utilitarian level, societies tend to move away from it with time. Reinforcing, defending, or failing to challenge the belief that one race or community is less than another ensures that the spirit of an underprivileged group will inherently be deflated and unmotivated to rise to the challenges that society faces, and enables abuses and injustices against those underprivileged groups to fester unaddressed.
However, few prejudices enable such unaddressed violence and death as often as those against Black lives – and for that reason, BORN is making commitments towards a Equal Rights Fund made up of the Equal Justice Initiative, Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, and the Lower East Side Girls’ Club to contribute financially to the causes against police brutality and systemic racism. We invite our team to reflect today on Juneteenth, which commemorates the full abolition of slavery in the United States, and we commit towards providing new content that sheds further light to our principles in equity and justice. Together, we can bring awareness and make change in the fight against racism and strengthen the equality of all before society and the law.