We, the team at Format, want to take a moment of your time to speak candidly. As we tried to find the words for this letter, our internal discourse showed us just how much work we truly have to do. First, we want to make it clear that Format stands with the protesters and we are here to learn and take action to support the Black community.
Like so many, we can no longer accept the status quo which we are a part of: a long-standing system of oppression that connects the murders of Medgar Evers, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and countless others. We recognize that it is not enough to not be racist, we must be actively and emphatically anti-racist.
What we have done in the past was not enough. As a company with a majority white team and white male founders, we understand and acknowledge that we have benefited directly from a system built on racism and white supremacy. We have failed to do the work necessary to make all levels of our team representative of marginalized and oppressed groups. We are committed to taking the necessary steps to effect sustainable and lasting change.
We will make mistakes along the way but we commit to staying accountable and doing the necessary work to be both anti-racist and strong allies to the Black community. Here are the first of many necessary steps we are taking to effect the long-term change we want.
Format has made a donation to Black Lives Matter Global Network to support the fight against violence and systemic racism towards Black people. We also commit to ongoing and sustained financial support of anti-racism initiatives. This is the very least we can do.
We are committed to hiring a more representative team at all levels. We are increasing our knowledge to ensure our hiring and employment processes remove any systemic barriers to BIPOC and other marginalized candidates for all of our current and future team members. We will dedicate the necessary time and resources to ensure we do the essential outreach to actively recruit these candidates.
We are committed to using our platform to amplify the work of Black photographers and creating a long-term plan to ensure the voices of our Black community members are heard.
We have prioritized the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Committee and taken immediate action to open real, candid conversations throughout all levels of the organization.
We have expanded our team members’ ability to take action by providing them with resources and materials to educate themselves and time to protest, and have launched an employee donation-matching program.
We know this is just a start, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. We also know that together these small actions will lead to big impact. We can—and will—do better.
Black lives matter.