Written by: Ron Olsen, CEO
To our Clients, Partners, Colleagues, and Friends,
With the international Black Lives Matter movement sparking important conversations across all aspects of society, we at Remote Learner have taken the last few weeks to hold open discussions with our team members, partners, and clients about the systemic racism and social injustice that permeates the communities in which we live.
We recently hosted a Diversity Town Hall meeting with our team members where we openly exchanged ideas and feelings about the BLM movement, racism within our families and communities, and first-hand accounts of what it means to grow up and exist as a person of color. Tears were shed, new appreciations for the humanity which connects us were obtained, and the start of a path forward emerged that will continue to evolve as more voices join the chorus.
We unequivocally support the strides being taken to ensure a more just future for people of color. We believe that, as a company and members of our community, we have an obligation to confront long-held bias that has helped to perpetuate intricately designed and codependent systems of oppression of so many of our citizens and to take actions that support the unwinding of systemic racism. This will be a long process but it’s one that Remote Learner is committed to. As such, we will address organizational and structural issues to support a long-term support strategy.
As a distributed company, we have team members throughout the US and Canada and we have always prided ourselves on our diversity. In 2019, in recognition that we can always improve, we started the Diversity & Inclusion Committee to broaden inclusion initiatives internally and to support a stronger understanding across our various communities. I am proud of the work that they have been doing but the world events and discourse have made it clear in new ways that this is not enough.
We have a strong history of empowering our team members and growing our leaders from within the company. While I am proud of the balance of the genders in our Leadership team, our strong support of the LGBTQA+ community, and of those with disabilities, we will look deeper into unconscious biases in recruitment and development to increase the diversity of color, and therefore of thought, that will equip us to create greater impact for our long-term future. We are committed to investing in the recruitment and promotion of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) representation within our companies.
Our Partners and Products
The world of education technology has been dramatically underrepresented by people of color, resulting in a lack of opportunities for their success and missed opportunities to address the learning needs of their communities. We will actively seek out partnerships with black-owned businesses to further the opportunities for those businesses and help to broaden the impact of solutions to underserved communities.
In partnership with our Diversity & Inclusion and RL Giving committees, we will identify opportunities to work with existing customers and prospects to address the learning needs of communities of color and committing professional and financial resources to further their message and broadening their impact.
Formed in 2016, the employee-led RL Giving committee has made it their mission to provide charitable education and opportunities within the organization and to support our purpose-driven clients with resources and support to help drive a greater impact. In partnership with our Diversity & Inclusion committee, the company will focus its efforts specifically on those initiatives that create a greater impact on the BIPOC communities, and we look forward to sharing those with you as they develop.
The underrepresentation of large portions of our population in elected positions at the local, state, and federal levels has allowed the perpetuation of systemic racism and biases for centuries. One of the ways that we can change this in a lasting way is to do our part to ensure that all of those that are governed have the right and ability to participate in the electoral process. I’m proud of our team member, Kanise Marshall, who ran for City Council for Waynesboro, VA, for her participation in the process and desire to get more involved. Although she was not the victor in the race, enthusiastically supporting Kanise and others in the RL family in their efforts to make a change in their communities is something that we will continue.
Additionally, Remote Learner has committed to providing direct election support in our respective communities and has established Election Day as a company holiday. Enabling greater access to the voting process for all members of our communities will help to strengthen the voices of those who have historically been underrepresented.
This is a period for listening, learning, and then taking action. The sincerity of the discussions that we are having at Remote Learner amongst our teams, partners, clients, and the community at large is very encouraging. While there is a fear that this wave will pass like it has so many times before, it feels different this time. What will keep it progressing is taking direct action to ensure long-term and sustainable support, open-dialogue about these issues, and vigilance. We are committed to doing just that.
Listen. Ask questions. Learn from those around you. And take ACTION.