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Days for Change: Removing Barriers and Building Bridges by Adam Boone

I remember last Summer like it was a week ago, although it also feels like it’s been five years. I remember watching the news as America was once again discussing the murder of Black women and men. I remember seeing the video of Ahmaud Arbery being murdered while going for a run. I remember the peaceful protests and silent vigils on Breonna Taylor’s birthday. I remember the global reaction to the video of George Floyd being murdered while begging for his life with his last few breaths. I remember seeing the nation once again attempt to grapple with the reality that systemic racism is a pandemic that has been around for over 400 years. I remember when the news felt too heavy, I would go for a walk through the park and listen to Sam Cooke sing with conviction that change is going to come. I felt strongly that this was the moment that would finally spark that change.

From racist acts of violence targeting the Black community and the health disparities brought to light during the COVID-19 pandemic that we all see outside of the workplace, to the inequities facing the Black community that we all see inside the workplace, there is an exhaustive list of barriers in place that are designed to preserve the status quo of our nation.

As the events of last Summer transpired, our CEO, Jennifer Tejada, sent a clear message that, at PagerDuty, we stand in solidarity with the Black community and are committed to doing our part in creating change. To put action to words, we introduced our Day for Change initiative, allowing our employees—effectively called Dutonians—to take action and support the Black community through different forms of activation such as peaceful protesting, voter engagement, and education. At this time, although I was working in Sales Operations, I had my own convictions about doing my part and making an impact in ID&E (Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) at PagerDuty as I understood how much work there was to do in this space—both inside and outside the workplace.

One year later, on May 25th, the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, I’m proud to share one of the efforts as our first ID&E Program Manager has been growing this initiative into a quarterly program, Days for Change. This program is designed for Dutonians to take united and repeatable actions that amplify, uplift, and support all underrepresented communities and identities, which lifts us all up. Through a strategic delivery of programming, content, philanthropic efforts, and a menu of action items, we have a comprehensive quarterly offering, enabling company-wide activation with four key pillars to create change.

To kick off this program, we highlighted the Black community and Array, our employee resource group (ERG) for our Black and LatinX Dutonians. On May 25th, we took action with the following:

  • Educate: Dutonians logged 265 total volunteer hours participating in an internal, employee-led allyship workshop as well as a virtual volunteering datathon with ShelterTech, one of our community partners through PagerDuty.org and a small nonprofit customer.
  • Advocate: As an expansion of our PagerDuty.org Civic Engagement work from last Fall leading up to the election, Dutonians were provided a Voter Engagement toolkit designed to enable active participation in democracy by advocating for the protection of voting rights.
  • Demonstrate: Dutonians were provided our first directory of Black-owned businesses with businesses located in our communities across the Bay Area, Atlanta, Toronto, and London.
  • Donate: In partnership with PagerDuty.org, our Employee Resource Groups are now providing financial grants to nonprofit organizations within our partner networks to deepen our connection with organizations supporting our communities. For this quarter’s Days for Change efforts, Array is providing a financial grant to The New Georgia Project, a Georgia-based nonprofit organization founded by Stacey Abrams and led by Nsé Ufot, that is focused on civic engagement and protecting voting rights.

In addition to our Days for Change efforts, we’re making progress on our Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity goals that we shared last Summer and have introduced the following programs and policies:

1. Expand our Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity efforts, including improved access, representation, career, and economic opportunities for all.

  • Inclusive Hiring Program: Introducing this program to audit and redesign our recruiting processes and systems to be more inclusive.
  • Inclusive Leadership Learning: Introducing company-wide ID&E learning and workshops. This learning experience is specifically focused on an organization approach to ensure we are all developing a common language, awareness, and capabilities when it comes to developing as
  • inclusive leaders.
  • Published our Antiracism Policy
  • Designed and published our Supplier Diversity Policy

2. Provide Transparency to our Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity efforts.

  • Annual ID&E report: Our 2020 report can be found here. We will be publishing our second annual report later this year in September.
  • Pay Transparency: Introducing compensation training on compensation philosophy, pay practices, and total rewards packages so that all Dutonians can have visibility into their pay range based on their role by early 2022.

3. Continued Philanthropic investment and activation.

  • Voter Engagement: Maintain and promote the voter engagement element of our Volunteer Time Off Policy.
  • Just & Equitable Communities: Our grant-making portfolio through PagerDuty.org to develop a multi-year equity strategy. Through this portfolio, we will deploy a total of $1M in funding from Summer 2020 through 2021.
  • ERG Grantmaking Program: In partnership with PagerDuty.org, our Employee Resource Groups are now providing financial grants to non-profit organizations within our partner networks.

Each quarter, we will highlight different communities and identities as part of our Days for Change program, which acts as a key vehicle to drive progress with our ID&E goals. At PagerDuty, to stand in solidarity with the Black community is to stand in solidarity with women, the LGBTQIA+ community, the Asian Pacific Islander community, those with visible/invisible disabilities or chronic medical conditions, and our veterans. Duty is defined as a moral obligation or responsibility. As Dutonians, we embrace the duty that is supporting our fellow Dutonians, especially those from underrepresented and marginalized communities. This is a responsibility where we are always on call for creating a real-time response and impact.

Along with everything that happened last Summer, one moment that continues to stay front of mind for me is the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Since his passing, I continue to revisit his speech as King T’Challa from Black Panther when addressing the United Nations;

“We will work to be an example of how we as brothers and sisters on this earth should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”

I continue to reflect on these words often and the weight of this moment we’re in as a nation. The weight of seeing declining support for Black Lives Matter from white Americans after seeing Black squares shared last Summer; the weight of seeing some companies shifting away from embracing social and political conversations potentially resulting in employees having to leave their identities at the door before coming to work; the weight of continuing to hear the same conversations about the fruits of our trees without examining the roots of our trees; and the weight of existing barriers in place that continue to be reinforced. When this weight feels too heavy, I remember to go for a walk through the park listening to Sam Cooke and the conviction he sings with in ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ to give me hope that we embrace the weight of this moment with our collective strength as if we were one single tribe and embrace the responsibility at this time to create the change we seek.

As we approach Juneteenth, I’m reminded of our history, the resilience and convictions of our ancestors, and the fight for our freedom. I’m reminded of how much work there is to do with each barrier there is to knock down, to then build a bridge in its place.

At PagerDuty, we will continue to do this work to ensure that change comes.

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