Editor’s note: Our CEO and founder, Craig Unger, sent the following email to all Hyperproof employees on June 3, 2020. It has been lightly edited for clarity and reposted below.
I wanted to write you a note during this time of great unrest. 2020 has been incredibly hard on our families and communities. Two weeks ago, it would have been difficult to believe that things could have gotten any worse. But here we are.
The recent events have caused me to reflect on our company values to make certain that we are clear in what we believe as an organization. It is important to reinforce our values to ground us during these difficult times. I wish to call your attention to the relevant Hyperproof value: Respect, Diversity, Inclusivity.
What we mean by Respect, Diversity and Inclusivity is that:
- We speak our mind respectfully so that we can be heard by others
- We practice listener empathy, so others feel safe sharing honest feedback
- We are intentional about fostering an inclusive work environment
- We believe in diversity in experience and thought
- Discrimination of any form has no place at Hyperproof
The first four points above were already present in our values. I have added the fifth, not because I have any doubt in the goodness and morality of our team, but because it adds a voice to help us express our feelings as a team to the greater community.
On May 25th George Floyd was the victim of a murder in plain daylight. There is no doubt in my mind that had I been stopped by the police instead, being a similar age but Caucasian, I would be very much alive right now.
We have seen a long string of these events, but this feels very different. Perhaps it is the fact that instead of a shot that took place in a split second, this was 8 minutes and 46 seconds of knowing brutality. You can’t make an 8 minute and 46 second mistake and all the world understands that.
The typical response of compartmentalizing this and simply empathizing with Mr. Floyd’s family and friends cannot be enough here. The brazenness of this killing makes us realize that at some level we have been apologists during the long string of similar, but slightly more nuanced events. For me personally this is causing feelings of guilt for turning a blind eye.
I think others are experiencing similar feelings. The discussions I have been involved in have quickly broken through long standing norms. For instance, people I respect and would never think of as proponents of violence have wondered out loud whether something more is required. This has caused me to think about my own family’s experience. Many of my ancestors were killed during the Holocaust. I have 3 cousins, but by my estimate I would have more than 100 were it not for the Holocaust.
While I have not personally been a victim of discrimination in America, my family has certainly suffered greatly as a result of discrimination and senseless hatred. We cannot allow discrimination and hate to thrive in our country.
Luckily, we do not live under Nazi rule in Germany. And while there is a lot to criticize in our current government (on both sides), I remain hopeful.
I remain hopeful that the power of our voices as citizens can be heard. I am hopeful though not certain–and it feels uncomfortable. We are at a crossroads here.
If we can band together for change, then it will show the power of our communities, our methods of organizing and even the flawed but not completely hopeless state of our government.
If we can’t that is a different story. But I will be looking for ways to do my part.
To all of you, I want to say a few things. During this next period, if you want to get involved in community activity during work hours, please let your manager know and go right ahead. I know you will be thoughtful and do the right thing by the company. More importantly, if any of you feel that you are personally in danger in your living situation given the unrest, please contact me and we will figure out a plan.
I want you to know that I am hopeful we will emerge a stronger society as we go through very difficult times that require deep introspection and change. I wish you all the strength and self-control to be a peaceful and productive part of this process.