Diversity & Inclusion
DEI / Resources

Another police killing highlights the need for true racial equity. Here are some resources to aid your pursuit

The horrific death of Tyre Nichols — depicted in a recently released video that inspired protests last weekend — may seem far removed from your daily work. It isn't.

A protest against police violence in Chicago, June 2020. (Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash)

I’ll be frank: I wasn’t sure if I should write this.

Yes, we at Technical.ly do frequently cover racial justice issues. Whether they manifest in workforce development initiatives, DEI pipeline development, racism at work or the social impact of various technologies, the importance of racial equity throughout and beyond our core foci underscores a significant portion of our coverage throughout our markets.

But as we joined newsrooms around the world in questioning how we might cover the release last Friday of videos showing Memphis police officers killing Tyre Nichols, I felt uneasy. Actually, that’s not true: I was downright anxious.

And not just because we were going to see yet another example of law enforcement officers, trusted with a modicum of public safety authority, snuffing the life out of yet another Black person on camera. My anxiety was also extremely existential. For far too long, the visually depicted deaths of Black people at the hands of police, self-styled vigilantes and others with ostensible authority have been a sick spectacle in American public life. Journalists, whether motivated by the chance at leading the news cycle or a more admirable commitment to accountability and documentation, play their own role in this cycle.

Of course, that knowledge does not mean we should turn away; instead, it means that we have to do it with a real understanding of what our readers should know.

As a publication that actively tries to be part of the solution instead of the problem, we drew on our experiences with the news cycles surrounding prior police killings of Black people to inform our coverage priorities. While the video release did not contribute to the genesis of global protests that completely changed news outlets’ focus — the way that the video of George Floyd being murdered did nearly two-and-a-half years ago — it still inspired noteworthy protests in the geographic regions that Technical.ly primarily covers. In Baltimore, where I live, the protests coincided with and uplifted calls for accountability by the families of Tyrone West and Donnell Richardson; their respective quests for justice reflect just how linked our regions are to what happened in Memphis.

The tech and entrepreneurship ecosystems that Technical.ly covers (and whose participants we consider our primary readers) cannot use their meritocratic images and removal from traditional corporate culture to hide from this problem. The United States’ legacy of anti-Black racism and white supremacy renders Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Delaware and Pittsburgh alike endemically segregated, from where people get to live to where they’re able to find jobs and develop skills.

That the murder of George Floyd also catalyzed widespread calls for stronger DEI and social impact priorities makes our coverage of affiliated initiatives necessary — especially when they aren’t living up to their promises of more equal and equitable opportunity.

In the coming weeks and months, our reporters will be exploring if and how our local technology and innovation industries are fulfilling any DEI- and social justice-related pledges they made in 2020. We’ll also highlight the roles that tech plays in racial justice issues while uplifting the stories of founders, particularly Black ones, that aim to buck the exclusionary trends that render our tech workforces looking little like the cities and regions in which they operate.

Making commitments to DEI is easy; staying true to them, especially when your feet are held to the fire and image management seems easier than accountability, is much harder and far more important.

In the meantime, knowing that many of you are current or aspiring industry leaders, we republished a 2020 article that we believe offers relevant lessons for how to address police violence and racism at work. In that spirit, here are some other articles from our archives, including before 2020, that we hope can help you as you make your workplaces, cities and lives more equitable.

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