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Happy Black History Month! This month, we honor the many contributions that Black people have made to the world we live in through their long history of struggles and victories. We are proud of the accomplishments of our Black team members at Deepgram and are taking a moment to reflect on the state of black wellness and the future of success on our team.
Deepgram’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program
Private companies have an important role to play in pushing for change. In recent years, many companies have launched Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) programs as a way to create a better work environment and make space for an ongoing conversation about these issues. Now, in celebration of Black History Month, we’re happy to announce that we’ve rolled out a new DE&I program at Deepgram. This statement of our values serves as a foundation for the work ahead:
Everyone’s voice is unique. At Deepgram, we thrive on a concert of voices. In order to build a more inclusive and understanding company, we are committed to seeking out and welcoming diversity of background, thought process, and experience. The belief that every voice deserves to be heard and understood is core to how we treat each other, advance the state of speech technology, and build a better world.
This statement is core to filling our purpose as a company. Our commitment to being the speech company means we need to include and represent all voices-and we are more excited than ever for the road ahead. We expect our DE&I program to evolve over time include a variety of events and resources for Deepgram team members as well as commitments to reporting on DE&I issues and to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive team. In particular, we are committed to working with our Black team members to ensure their success and growth at Deepgram, and we applaud the impact they have already made to our shared achievements.
We are proud to release this statement during Black History Month, which is a time to reflect on Black Americans’ struggle for freedom, recognition, and equality that has shaped the United States. The origin of Black History Month itself tells an inspiring story. Its roots trace back to the efforts of Carter G. Woodson, who founded the tradition of Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson was born in 1875 to former slaves who had little formal education. As a young child, he had to work to support his family while seeking out opportunities for education where he could find them. Much of what he learned through the high-school level was self-taught. But his dedication paid off. In 1912, he became the second Black American to earn a doctorate from Harvard after W. E. B. Du Bois, and his later writing on Black history made him a prominent historian. Woodson knew that Black history was often overlooked and ignored, and he wrote, “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world.”
It was from that insight that Negro History Week and later Black History Month were born. Over the last 70 years since the beginning of the US Civil Rights Movement, Black campaigners for social change have dramatically shifted American society for the better. The struggles of Civil Rights leaders have led to significant improvements in the quality of life and political inclusion of Black people. Moreover, the campaigns of Black Civil Rights leaders have become a beacon to other minority groups seeking change and inclusion.
Looking to the Work Ahead
A great deal of progress has been made, but Black History Month is a reminder to all Americans that more work remains to be done. American public policy has so far been able to grapple with forms of systemic racism that still impact Black Americans in serious ways. Social and political factors in our country still make school segregation a de facto reality in many areas. The average wealth of White families is 6x higher than that of Black families, and the wealth inequality index has risen over the last decade. Black Americans are 5x more likely to be incarcerated than White Americans and other American ethnicities.
Inequities in access to healthcare by race are evident in all US states. Laws aimed at restricting voting access have been shown to disproportionately impact communities of color. Black Americans are more likely to be killed by police than other Americans. These issues are just a few examples of the work that still lies ahead of us. The work of DE&I is never done. It is a mindset we embrace day by day to make our company and the world better. We look forward to the day when every voice is heard and understood.
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