Black Lives Matter: our commitment to action
Written by Togather, Wed 10 May 2023
A message from our Co-founders, Digby & Hugo
The brutal killing of George Floyd, the latest of many Black victims of police violence internationally, has rightly sparked global outrage and protest whilst highlighting the injustice and racism ingrained in our society today.
This is the first statement Together has made in response because we collectively decided to take the time to make sure what we said was meaningful and actionable, rather than just words. As a team, we felt it was vital for us to listen before we spoke and that there were more important voices to hear than ours over the last two weeks.
We have all read countless declarations from companies and celebrities over the last couple of weeks, many of which have been powerful, but plenty which have been criticised for being stronger on content than they were on commitments to actual change. It was very important for us to invest time in educating ourselves and thinking carefully about the steps we wanted to take over the coming weeks and years before we released a statement. Over the last couple of weeks we've had internal conversations to make plans for meaningful actions we can take to make a difference. We've also been in contact with our supplier community to gather their thoughts on how we can do better.
At Togather, we have never and would never tolerate racism in any form. However, this period of protest and mobilisation for the Black Lives Matter movement has taught us that this is simply not enough. It's no longer enough to not be racist - we must all work to be actively anti-racist.
To our Black community members - we stand with you. The disproportionate economic and social barriers facing Black business owners when it comes to starting and maintaining their businesses is nothing new. We want to make sure that your contribution to this brilliant industry is always celebrated and supported. Having taken this time to reflect, we feel as though we have to be better; be better at championing the Black-owned businesses in our community; be better at providing support; be better at educating our team so that we can effectively promote your business to all prospective customers. Your businesses are at the heart and soul of what we do.
With this in mind, we are sharing the commitments we have been discussing internally as a team and the ways we believe we can begin to make changes in both the short and longer-term.
Digby & Hugo Co-founders
Our actions within our supplier community:
Support the Black-owned businesses we work with: actively support and champion the Black-owned businesses in our community through our public content and social media channels. If you are a Black-owned business and would like to be featured, please let us know.
Be conscious of bias: Ensure we never allow any unconscious bias by conducting a full audit of our sales process and technology, including our supplier-matching algorithm.
Fundraising: Togather has been fortunate enough to successfully raise funds from investors across hospitality, retail and tech and we want to help leverage this network for positive change. We will run annual fundraising workshops to try and connect Black-owned businesses with potential investors and give feedback on pitching skills.
Our actions within Togather
We have made a start and will continue to:
Educate ourselves: our management team will set the precedent for self-education, ensuring we regularly seek advice and input from those more knowledgeable within our community.
Educate our team: we are sharing all the resources we have found educational with each other and will continue to do so. This will be shared externally in the form of a blog post and we'll also pay for copies of relevant educational material for anyone in the team.
Create an Anti-Racist and Inclusivity Committee: their role will be to hold management to account. This will be a group of people within our team who will ensure we follow through on the actions we are committing to now, as well as creating a permanent culture of change within Togather. To start, this will come in the form of regular meetings, discussion and initiatives to ensure the engagement of the whole company at every level.
Charity partnerships: our office is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, so we will partner with local charities and organisations as well as national ones. We have pinpointed a couple of charities in the borough that supports underrepresented groups and are looking to establish partnerships with them.
Be representative: across our social media, website, and printed materials by celebrating all genders, races and ages.
Our longer-term plans:
Re-evaluate our employment process: this includes our job advertisements - using recruitment methods to ensure a diverse range of applicants - and how we conduct the entire process post-application. While we are not currently recruiting, this is something we will do before we next hire.
An audit of all of our internal tools: ensure that all the businesses we use for our processes also commit to anti-racism and diversity. This could be our sales, email, marketing or data tools/programmes, to name a few. We will contact every business we work with who hasn’t already released a statement.
Volunteer schemes: provide 2 days off work each year for our team to volunteer with charitable organisations.
Internship schemes: the technology industry is known to be one of the least diverse industries in the UK, with Black people forming the smallest representation. A way we can change this is through access and opportunity with an internship scheme at Togather for young Black people who want to gain experience in technology or at a start-up.
If you have any feedback on our response or ideas for other ways we could be better, we'd love to hear them. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.