We Are Not Where We Thought We Were

Redwoods has long prided itself as being an inclusive, empowering workplace. And we are proud of the many steps we have taken. In 2020, following the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and too many others, we—like much of the world—held conversations to understand how systemic racism shows up within our own work, and within our own culture. (It’s a sad fact that the inclusion of these names may date this statement, and there will likely have been further outrages committed by the time you are reading this.)

What those conversations revealed, or reemphasized, was that cultures can look very different to different people, depending on their lived experience. As such, Redwoods has committed to a long-term journey to dismantle systemic racism and anti-Black discrimination. Below are some of the ways we have started on that journey:

  • A company-wide race-based pay equity audit
  • A facilitated listening session with our CEO and COO, specifically for employees of color, and specifically focused on tackling racism and anti-blackness within the workplace
  • A cohort of employees attending a Whiteness At Work webinar series from the Adaway Group
  • A commitment to engage our customers in discussion about our diversity policies—including respect for all forms of gender and sexual orientation
  • Convening several sessions on “The Anti-Racist Y” at the upcoming NAYDO conference in April 2021
  • A requirement for all employees to complete an unconscious bias training 
  • As part of our required 40 hours of community service, we have also permitted employees to receive credit for any courses or books that helped them understand the subject of systemic racism

We do not share these actions to claim credit. They are not, and cannot be, considered sufficient to address the centuries-long racial injustice that has persisted in this country. We do share them, however, to hold ourselves and our community accountable—and to encourage everyone to step up and do their part.

Those of us who have benefitted from a culture that values whiteness have had the luxury of not thinking about race or racism unless we want to. Those of us who have suffered from a culture that devalues Blackness have had the opposite—and have had to constantly navigate through, and negotiate with, a system that puts them at a disadvantage. We cannot allow this to continue.

It we are—as we claim to be—one Redwoods family, then we need to do the work necessary to make sure that everyone in that family can thrive. We invite you to join us in that work.