Reflection is an essential part of driving change, acknowledging missteps, and preparing for the future. It makes me think about a quote I heard earlier in my career: “Reflection requires looking back so that the view looking forward is even clearer.” That quote resonates with me because we don’t always take the time to reflect on our experiences to plan for our future adventures. So, I’m taking this opportunity to do just for myself, our team, and our company, Momentive.
At Momentive, we just finished our celebration of Pride Month here in the U.S. with a range of experiential moments designed to drive awareness of issues impacting the LGBTQIA+ community. At a time where Pride is increasingly corporatized, white-washed, and otherwise capitalistically exploited, I am proud of our Employee Resource Group (ERG), The Queerious, for leveraging this moment as an opportunity to embrace the origins of Pride via the work of Marsha P. Johnson, a trans Black woman who, through an act of rebellion against the state, sparked a civil rights revolution and a path for a more inclusive world for everyone. We also shared meaningful data from our own research regarding the lived experiences of queer people, particularly queer Black and brown people, across this country.
We also celebrated Juneteenth this month, marking the newly minted federal holiday that recognizes the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans in Texas creating learning opportunities coordinated by our incredible BUILD (Blacks United in Leadership & Development) ERG for our Black employees. These activities beautifully highlighted the tragedy of systemic racism that still impacts us today and raised the question if there can never really be justice on stolen land. In addition to the internal work we led as a company, our social media campaign released some soberingly racist responses we received in a recent public opinion poll we ran in honor of this day celebrating liberty.
The past year and of course our own work at Momentive push me to reflect. Yes, there have been steps forward, but there have been several steps back. Liberation and equity seems to always be accompanied by loss or setbacks. Why does that have to be the case? I look at a country that is grappling with how to address historic racism in public schools, an ever-widening racial wealth gap, and how to pass legislation to address systemic racism and other forms of discrimination, as well as many organizations not living up to their anti-racist pledges. A few short days ahead of the 4th of July, what was once a whisper in my heart is now yelling, “What does liberty mean for the oppressed?”
Liberation means the freedom to be one’s full self, everywhere, with no apology. It means being empowered with the same information, resources, and any other capital needed to pursue and realize one's purpose. It means being provided the grace to fail, to learn, and to try again. It means being recognized and celebrated for impact in ways that are meaningful. Tangibly, what this means for Momentive is eschewing the traps of surface-level, performative theater, which corporate America and popular society so often fall into by committing to striving to be inclusive and equitable for everyone. As I look at the Momentive’s horizon, here are the commitments that I am excited about:
Leverage our public opinion research to understand community sentiment as a way to address systemic issues impeding the progress of marginalized communities and support our partners, customers, and others on the same journey as we are.
Use our platform and commitment to amplifying voices to elevate our partnerships with organizations that improve talent pipeline from historically oppressed communities.
We are committed to using our resources to design and implement internal programs that will increase career growth for women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ employees.
Continue to review and assess our internal policies and practices to drive toward the equity we are committed to for all employees.
Social impact is core to Momentive’s value proposition. As I look back to look forward, I am hopeful and confident that we will lead in the collective journey to a more equitable, inclusive, and just world.