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How to measure “inclusion” quantitatively : free resources and research data for D&I advocates

What do you look for when you’re looking for a new job? 

Good pay, no commute, better title, opportunities to advance, a rocket ship company… oh, and culture. Culture is important. 

Well, I believed (and still do believe) there is a group of people who would put inclusive culture at the top of the list of things they look for in a new job. Because I was one of them. I still believe there are people like me, who would choose a lower paying job over a company run by CE-bros with a toxic culture. 

People who want to work at a place where they can bring their whole selves to work, where they don’t have to merely survive while suffering from daily microaggressions and other oppressive BS. Call me naive, but I thought such places can exist, but surely, it would take a lot of research and validation. 

So how do you go about finding such a place? 

How do you *really* know if a company has an “inclusive culture?” 

Well, my business partner and I wanted to find out. 

Clue #1: Diversity Reports

In recent years, more and more companies have been eager (and pressured) to share “diversity reports,” sharing their demographic data. Still, the number of companies that have been releasing diversity reports consistently is limited. And, because the format and contents of these reports are so varied, it puts the onus on the job seekers to decipher and compare. Most of these reports breakdown demographic information into race and gender categories, vs. reflecting people with overlapping / intersecting identities, making it difficult to understand the true population of the company.

And as we know, diversity does not guarantee inclusion. In fact, some companies have become better at attracting more diverse talent (“pipeline problem”) that they can quickly replace the folks they lost. The problem with most diversity reports is that they are a snapshot — like a balance sheet — that only gives you a partial picture of reality.

Just like you need a lot more than just a balance sheet to understand a company’s health, you need a whole lot more information than just the current population information to understand a company’s actual culture.

In order to understand the actual culture of a company, through the lens of inclusivity, you need way more than a snapshot of who’s surviving at the company today. But keep those reports coming, we still want to know! 

Clue #2: Glassdoor, et al. 

Ah, Glassdoor. 

I just have three points. 

  1. People don’t trust Glassdoor in general
  2. It’s hard to find inclusion-specific information on Glassdoor 
  3. See screenshot below 
 Uber’s Glassdoor rating in April, 2017 (Note — Susan Fowler’s blog post went viral in February, 2017)

Uber’s Glassdoor rating in April, 2017 (Note — Susan Fowler’s blog post went viral in February, 2017)

 Uber’s Glassdoor rating on Aug. 11, 2017

Uber’s Glassdoor rating on Aug. 11, 2017

Need I say more? 

Clue #3: Company website

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ok, I do like studying the company’s leadership and board members, though. And their pretty marketing language on how much they value diversity and inclusion. I also think it does count for something (maybe, like, half a sticker) if a company is vocal about valuing D&I vs. not. 

Those are just a few resources that are available online. Unfortunately, finding inclusive culture information that is reliable and comprehensive is not easy. Plus, culture varies not only by company, but by team within a company. Getting this data online is near impossible. 

Some forward thinking companies have gone ahead and begun the process of measuring inclusion using tools like Culture Amp’s Inclusion Survey, but the information they gather is often kept private and is shared only if the data looks favorable. After all, what incentives do companies have to air their dirty laundry? 

So what do people trust? 

People trust unaltered feedback from current or former employees of the company. Resourceful people who have access to people at companies they are interested in prefer to talk to current or ex-employees to get the real scoop.

“Tell me the real deal. Should I apply?”

No surprise here, right? 

But unless you have this social capital, how are you supposed to access this information? Without access, you have to rely on your own judgment based on limited information available publicly and roll the dice. Just keep a low expectation, is that it? 

We wanted to change this. 

We wanted to redistribute power to job seekers by providing them with discoverable, reliable, comprehensive, relevant, and comparable data around inclusion.

We wanted to provide a safe platform for employees experiencing toxic or inclusive cultures to speak up. We wanted them to be able to tell their side of the story without the company’s interference. 

We wanted to standardize how we talk about and measure “inclusion” and provide a useful tool so companies can improve against concrete metrics. We understand the idea of capturing “inclusion” in one quantitative score may seem simplistic. But what we see over and over again is that businesses don’t prioritize what cannot be measured

While we would never claim one quantitative metric alone can paint the most accurate and comprehensive picture of a company’s inclusive culture, we did believe it can be a tool used to supplement existing efforts to get a pulse on a company’s culture. Or at least serve as a starting point. 

Ultimately, we believed that with better information about companies’ culture, inclusion-seeking job seekers would be able to make better decisions. On the flip side, we hoped this would put pressure on companies to improve their culture to be more inclusive, and measure how they’re doing via real-time, candid feedback from their workforce (most companies we talked to did not like this idea). 

So the idea of “inclusion dashboard” was born. We did a lot of research around how one would define and measure inclusion. We interviewed a bunch of people who were exploring new opportunities to understand their research methods and priorities. We talked to D&I experts, companies at the forefront of leading D&I, researchers, professors, Venture Capitalists, and spent months thinking about how we can close this information gap. 

We learned a lot. 

Here are some interesting, but not surprising, findings / validations from our interviews: 

  • People who have experienced harmful culture rank inclusive culture higher on the list of priorities when looking for a new job vs. people who have not experienced harm.
  • Ensured anonymity was the #1 requirement for making people feel comfortable leaving a company review.
  • 4 common factors were identified as a requirement for making information trustworthy: Relevancy of the data to the individual, credibility of the information source, balance of good and bad data (goes back to credibility), connecting directly with an individual who works at the company.

There’s a load more data we gathered that you can check out in our now archived “pitch” deck. Note we never actually wanted to raise capital, we just wanted to get advice from smart people and launch the survey to see where it goes. We had some ideas for how we would monetize, but we just wanted gather and make inclusion data public and iterate from there. 

Anyway, after conducting our own research and interviews, we attempted to develop a way to define and measure inclusion. It contained three major parts:

  1. Psychological Safety: Do people feel belong and empowered? 
  2. Trust in Leadership: Do people believe their leaders actually care about inclusion? Do they trust their leaders will do the right thing, especially when shit hits the fan? Do they believe their HR team will address complaints swiftly and competently? 
  3. Incidents: Have people experienced, witnessed, or overheard harassment, assault, or other forms of harm based on identity?
 Our fancy shmancy diagram breaking down “inclusion.”

Our fancy shmancy diagram breaking down “inclusion.”

 

We then created a survey to measure this. 

A quick note — big props to the team at Culture Amp and Paradigm IQ for releasing the Inclusion Survey — we reviewed their survey and adapted some of the questions (particularly helpful for the Psychological Safety section) and added additional ones that we thought were important for assessing inclusion. We also love all the work Project Include has done — we kept in mind a lot of their recommendations around measuring progress

We tried to make the survey as concise as possible, especially given the fact that it was intended to be done publicly (aka voluntarily). We needed the process to be as easy as possible. 

Our survey contained 30 questions in addition to gathering people’s demographic information, tenure and department at the company, and their level. This would allow us to breakdown the data in meaningful ways, showcasing how different folks at different levels, in different teams, with different identities felt about the company’s culture. 

We added important questions like, 

  • “I feel comfortable going to my HR with complaints (e.g., harassment, bullying, microaggression, etc.)” and 
  • “I was pressured or incentivized by my company to leave a positive review” 

that we don’t usually see in company-run employee engagement surveys. 

Here’s the link to receive the full survey, if you want to adapt it for your company and use it, feel free. Note the survey was still in the process of being polished with help text, definitions, and more thorough answer options. 

We were also in the process of finalizing our scoring algorithm based on the survey results and demographic data of the survey respondents. We were toying with some controversial ideas, too, weighting scores more heavily if the responses were submitted by folks in marginalized social identity groups (e.g., people of color, women, queer, trans, disabled, etc.) vs. those in privileged identity groups (e.g., white, straight, man, able-bodied, etc.). This was based on our belief that in order to achieve true inclusion, we need to ensure the most marginalized group feels included. 

We were going to launch the survey and gather data publicly, and publish the data in a comprehensive and digestable way using an interactive dashboard. People would be able to slice and dice the data to fit their needs, so if I’m looking for inclusion data from the perspective of queer women of color in Customer Success, for example, then I’d be able to. 

We worked with a product manager to scope out the platform dashboard features, prioritized business requirements. For example, we wanted to create a way to verify someone’s identity and employment history via LinkedIn (we know it’s not the perfect way) to solve for credibility, and put a threshold for when we would release a company’s data so we can solve for non-traceability based on demographic and reliability in terms of the data volume (e.g., we wouldn’t release the survey results unless a company had X number of responses, so it’s not easy to trace back who filled it out based on their identity markers). 

 Business and Product Requirements List

Business and Product Requirements List

We looked for advisors. We had partners ready to help us develop the site. 

So why did we stop? 3 major challenges surfaced.

  • Challenge #1: Gathering a large volume of data to make the site useful 
  • Challenge #2: Refreshing the data often to ensure it stays up-to-date 
  • Challenge #3: People don’t make decisions based on information

We believed we could overcome Challenges #1 and 2 eventually. But #3? That was a tough one for us to swallow. What’s the point if we gather and disseminate data but it doesn’t influence people’s decisions? How would we actually influence change? What were we solving for? 

“Since the Susan Fowler story broke out, the number of female engineer applicants has not decreased. There also wasn’t a mass exodus from Uber” —very reliable Uber insider

This crushed us. Sure, you can argue “but Uber is different — not every company has the leverage Uber has” or “no, but I really care!” 

But for us, it seemed like the ultimate impact of closing this gap was unclear especially when the road to building a useful product was a complex one. 

The truth is, unless enough people vote with their employment status, companies are not going to fundamentally shift their internal culture. 

It was a tough decision for us to scrap this “Glassdoor for inclusion” idea. We were so passionate about solving this problem, and we still are. We ultimately decided, though, this is not going to be the dream we make reality. We are still using bits and pieces of our learnings today, and have utmost respect for folks trying to tackle this gap. 

We don’t regret having done the research. 

And we want to share what we learned with anyone who cares. Because we are all in this together, and we have to build solidarity and coalition to move the needle a millimeter at a time. 

So we’re open sourcing our materials here:

You’ll find flaws in our stuff, no doubt, and maybe even judge us for being naive (but without it, can change really happen?). Basically, please don’t troll us. But do share your thoughts and ideas so we can all learn from each other and be better

The following companies are also trying to bring inclusive culture data to the forefront to help jobseekers. Check them out and support them: 

So what are we doing instead? We are providing a new kind of “diversity and inclusion” workshops to develop inclusive leaders. It’s hard work that requires a lot of emotional labor. It’s not very scalable. But we truly believe in the impact we can have on people with our approach, one rooted in social justice and the idea that change happens incrementally and with individuals. It may not be as scalable or sexy as running a software company to some, but we love connecting with real people, holding space for tough conversations, and seeing lightbulbs go off in people’s hearts. We’ve been getting raving reviews and feedback from folks who say we’ve completely changed their perspective on diversity and inclusion. Now that means something. 

Have ideas on how to measure inclusion better? Share in comments or message me directly! I’d love to hear from you.


About Michelle Kim

Michelle is an entrepreneur, activist, speaker, and a coach passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to create positive change. She is the co-founder of Awaken and owner of Michelle Kim Consulting.

Follow Michelle’s continued journey to create change in this world:

Subscribe | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Awaken

 

I’m going to Crissy Field on Saturday — here’s what you need to know if you want to come with

As I wrote in my previous post, there are many options for protesting the alt-right / KKK rally happening this Saturday (8/26) in Crissy Field, San Francisco.

I’m choosing to go to Crissy Field because I know people will be there, and we will be safer if there’s more of us. I want to have the backs of folks who are being extremely courageous, potentially putting their physical safety on the line to confront hatred face-to-face. History tells us multiple resistance tactics must co-exist to defeat hate. If you want to read more about other perspectives, or why I’m choosing to go to Crissy Field rather than ignore them, please read my previous post.

I have privileges that allow me to take risks — for instance, I don’t fear being arrested and deported because of my documentation status, nor do I fear being profiled by cops because of my race. Understanding my privileges allows me to understand my strategic place in this fight for social justice, and I’m going to stand by / in between / in front of folks who may be more at risk.

I’d love for you to join me. Because honestly, I’m scared shitless and I want to feel safer knowing there will be more of us (like Boston!).

I’m scared, but here are some things that are making me feel better:

  • Safety in numbers: There will be a lot of us there — more and more contingents are popping up organizing to march to Crissy Field. People are saying SF will mirror what we saw in Boston (yay!)
  • No weapons allowed: The National Park Service announced they will not allow any items that are weapons or can be used as weapons at Crissy Field. Prohibited items include: ammunition, backpacks, drones, explosives, firearms (including licensed concealed carry firearms), glass, mace/pepper spray, sticks, bats, toy or replica guns, and more (scroll down for the full list)
  • Organized leadership: Multiple activist groups and leaders are working tirelessly to provide great leadership to folks who participate in the counter protest. They’re sharing information real time and providing tips for everyone to stay safe
  • Security check points / search stations: The city has made its stance clear that they are doing everything they can to keep the counter protesters safe — though I do not trust the police (please be cautious and avoid arrest), I take comfort in knowing that they’ve been trained and instructed to search thoroughly for any prohibited items
  • Lawyers: Lawyers from National Lawyers Guild will be present to help — they will be wearing fluorescent green hats

I’m not a trained militia, I don’t have experience fighting Nazis, I’ve never been a part of a violent protest / altercation. I’m just as anxious as you are. But I’m deciding to show up for folks who have more to be afraid of, yet are being so courageous in their decision to show up.

So if you decide to join me, here are some things to keep in mind.

Important things to know / do:

  1. Meeting Point: Meet at at Marina Green first and walk over together: **Marina Blvd. between Scott Street and Fillmore Street at 10 a.m. — look for the Longshore Workers’ Union (ILWU) banner when you arrive**

  2. Text Alert: Subscribe to Bay Resist’s text alert system and check on their website / Facebook event update often for latest news: text RESIST to 41411
  3. Buddy-System: Come with a buddy, stay with your buddy. Have a plan for when you get separated. Try to stick with large groups, but still have a buddy — email me if you want to come with me from the Mission!
  4. Be cautious before, during, and after the rally: There have been cases where the deflated and pissed off Nazis retaliate after the rally. Stick with your buddy / group until you are in a safe area
  5. Communication: Cellphone service may be unreliable — coordinate communication plan in advance and let your friends and family know of your status so they don’t worry! (Don’t worry mom!) Have important numbers written down somewhere (e.g., paper, body, etc.)
  6. Engaging with Police: Don’t assume the police will protect you, especially if you’re more likely to be profiled (e.g., Black, Brown, Muslim, trans folks). Know your legal rights in case of arrest and ask for a lawyer. Do not resist arrest, even if it’s not fair. Have someone in your group who can be a liaison, who is most likely to be seen as non-threatening to cops
  7. Pepper spray: It is unlikely there will be pepper spray or tear gas, but if you get sprayed, running 50/50 unflavored antacid (e.g., Maalox) and water solution (LAW: Liquid Antacid Water) over your eyebrows, letting it flow over your eyes in an outward direction will help. Do not wear contacts — wear glasses
  8. Valuables: Don’t bring anything you don’t want to lose or get confiscated
  9. Photography: Don’t photograph others without their consent, and try to not be photographed to avoid being identified by the alt-right doxers
  10. Clothes: Wear comfortable layered clothes (in case you need to take it off after being pepper sprayed) and shoes — don’t wear all black to avoid being mistaken as black bloc (more likely to be targeted by alt-right and police)
  11. Water and food: Eat before you come, bring water and snacks 
  12. Interacting with racists: Do not engage with the alt-right / KKK / fascists if they try to provoke you
  13. Violence: DO NOT INITIATE VIOLENCE
  14. Lawyer: Have the National Lawyer’s Guild number handy in case of arrest: 415–285–1011
  15. Getting home: Leave the rally in a group — experienced folks say this is the most dangerous part!
  16. Mental health: Coordinate a post-rally emotional / mental support activity in advance. You may need to talk to someone. Take care of yourself!

Do whatever you need to take care of yourself and prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally. Find and organize with people you trust (if you don’t have anyone to go with, you can come with me, seriously).

That’s all from me, for now. I’m looking forward to seeing thousands of other passionate folks flooding the streets to stand up against oppression. 

I know we can do this, San Francisco. Let’s get it. 

More Resources

Facebook events I’m following (they all have the same meeting place):

Facebook Status I’m following

Legal Resources:

Health and Safety Resources:

Further Reading:

Full list of prohibited items as governed by the National Park Service:

A. Aerosols / pressurized canisters
B. Ammunition
C. Animals other than working service animals
D. Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards
E. Backpacks and bags exceeding the size restriction of 18” by 14” by 7”
F. Balloons
G. BBQ grills (propane tanks with any open flame)
H. Bicycles
I. Coolers
J. Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
K. Explosives
L. Firearms (including licensed concealed carry firearms)
M. Gas Masks
N. Glass, thermal or metal containers
O. Helmets
P. Laser pointers
Q. Liquids (other than water in factory-sealed, clear plastic bottles)
R. Mace / pepper spray
S. Packages
T. Pop up tents or canopies
U. Selfie sticks
V. Shields
W. Signs exceeding the size restriction of 24” by 36” (Signs will only be allowed if made of foam core, cardboard or paper)
X. Structures
Y. Supports for signs and placards including sticks of any material
Z. Sticks or bats of any nature composed of any material
AA. Toy or replica guns
BB. Wagons or carts that can be pulled
CC. Weapons of any kind

Helpful Photos (credit: Gwen Park):

 

Also, here are some powerful words from Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on what she believes San Francisco should do: 

Honestly, I think the strategy should be “let a thousand flowers bloom.” A coordinated strategy in this case is better than a one-size-fits-all strategy. If the responses are uncoordinated that will be the story. If progressives are not aligned in keeping the focus on the white supremacists who are in office and on 45’s administration, it’s all bullshit anyway. The larger goal is showing them that we are more coordinated, more impactful, and that we actually represent America. The theoretical debate about non violence vs violence is a black hole that few emerge from. This debate only matters in the context of a larger strategy for power. If we see this as a moment that can open up new opportunities for organizing, why wouldn’t we want to have a coordinated approach that shows us what’s possible?
Coordination gives people cover, allows for multiple points of pressure, and creates many different entryways for people to participate. There are people who are willing to take risks, and there are people who are not. And they should coordinate to make sure that it adds up to one beautiful whole.
This is not a time for SF to be uncoordinated. The most important thing is that these forces understand that when they come to SF spreading their bullshit that there are people willing to stand up to them in a multitude of ways. For me, it’s not a theoretical debate. This is a time to demonstrate that the progressive movement is united across difference in it’s rejection of hate. And then, of course, do the real work which is uprooting white supremacy in our own movements. Really easy to focus on the most obvious trash while not looking at how we clean up our own shit.

 


About Michelle Kim

Michelle is an entrepreneur, activist, speaker, and a coach passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to create positive change. She is the co-founder of Awaken and owner of Michelle Kim Consulting.

Subscribe | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Medium | Awaken

 

To engage or not to engage: how to resist alt-right white supremacist rallies
 Antifa and alt-right clash in Charlottesville. Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Antifa and alt-right clash in Charlottesville. Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As the alt-right, white supremacist, neo-Nazis continue their roadshow throughout the country, there have been many discussions around how to best respond. While we all strive to dismantle white supremacy, there seems to be ongoing debate around tactics and strategies. 

I had the privilege of attending a planning meeting hosted by Mayor Ed Lee at City Hall yesterday afternoon, joined by other city government officials including the Chief of Police Bill Scott and San Francisco Human Rights Commission Director Sheryl Davis. The conference room was filled with community organizers and leaders: there were leaders from the faith community, nonprofit organizations, education institutions, protest / rally organizers, bringing a wide range of perspectives and voices to the table. 

In this post, I intend to provide you with a comparative summary of those perspectives, as well as my own commentary and recommendations. 

First, some basic background information to catch you up: 

  • The rally is being hosted by an alt-right group called Patriot Prayer
  • Patriot Prayer is known for inciting violence at their previous events, which many recognize as an effective PR and recruitment tactic for the alt-right, neo-Nazi movement 
  • Patriot Prayer seeks to obtain a federal permit on federal land, which supersedes the state or city jurisdiction 
  • On federal land, you are legally allowed to carry concealed weapons, which poses a greater threat of violence 

Now onto the perspectives. 

Perspective #1: Do not engage, protest peacefully elsewhere (SF City’s official stance). 

Mayor Lee, Police Chief Scott, and HRC Director Davis made their collective stance clear in their opening statements: do not engage with the alt-right, do not dignify them with your presence. Instead, attend peaceful counter rallies the day before (Fri, 8/25) and the day of (Sat, 8/26). The city’s #1 priority is public safety, and they are increasing security measures all over town. 

This approach makes sense if you think about the goal of the city government: minimize risk, ensure public safety, reduce costs. 

This seems to be the most popular perspective among liberal intellectuals and progressive elites, who believe counter-protesting at the alt-right rally is giving the neo-Nazis exactly what they want: confrontation. The alt-right is seeking attention through sensationalized media coverage while framing the left as “anti-free-speech snowflakes.” So why give them what they want? Let’s just ignore them and make them feel insignificant. 

My take: I like this option because it reduces the chance of possible casualties on our side (yes, we’re taking sides, people) — it would be naive to say there will be no violence given what we’ve seen in Charlottesville and Berkeley, and I’d just hate to see folks get hurt. I also like the idea of a bunch of neo-Nazis showing up all pumped with their tucked away weapons, only to find our beloved Karl the Fog and a bunch of dog shit at the park. My concern about this approach is this: this works only if enough people choose to not show up at Crissy Field. If there’s critical mass of folks that do decide to show up, the threat of violence still exists. 

Perspective #2: Engage. Confront hate face-to-face. F*ck the Nazis. 

This perspective was held by Rev. Townsend (VP of San Francisco NAACP) among other leaders, who noted that throughout history, what forced change to happen was the courage shown by brave front-line fighters who stood up to oppressors face-to-face. He cited MLK Jr. and Birmingham, and noted there are young people who are ready to fight, who will be at the direct counter-protest, whether others join or not. He also reminded us that as much as this is a recruitment strategy for the alt-right, it can serve the same purpose for the left — we can inspire other passionate folks to join the movement against white supremacy. HRC Director Sheryl Davis chimed in, stating while she agrees with Rev. Townsend’s overall sentiment, she also wants to acknowledge the risk of police arrests for our young people of color participating in violent protests. “We have to be real,” said Davis, calling attention to the fact that we may be exposing our young people of color, knowing they are likely to be profiled and arrested at a higher rate.

Others community leaders validated they know people who will be at the counter-protest. Which begs the question, are we leaving our bravest folks high and dry? 

My take: I am conflicted. Do I think this is the only way we can win? No. However, history tells us we got to where we are today because we had both MLK and Malcom X. Rosa Parks and Black Panthers. People who are going to Crissy Field, apparently a lot of young people, are literally risking their lives to confront white supremacists. Even if we disagree with this tactic, is it time for us to have their back? Like, is this one of those “ugh, FINE, I’ll go with you and have your back, but we’re going to talk about this after” moment? And no, I don’t think people who are going to Crissy Field are less strategic minded — I think these folks are fierce AF. I think they believe this is what solidarity looks like, and this is how history gets written. I don’t think they’re “dumb for giving them what they want.” I think they believe in their heart that alt-right extremists cannot be defeated with intellectual debates, political correctness, or campaign strategies. And I’m starting to think, in weird ass times like today, where you see decades old, toxic, oppressive violence being normalized as “extreme, but still a legitimate point of view,” perhaps just the right prescription to wake people up is a big ol’ slap in the face. Sometimes, you’ve got to fight hate with the equivalent amount of passion, uproar, and fearlessness. 

As much as I’d love to see thousands of people gathered in Civic Center holding a peaceful protest, I’d love it even MORE if we could turn up 40,000 people at Crissy Field to drown out the alt-right’s noise, and immobilize them by our sheer volume. Now that would be epic. 

Perspective #3: Pretend everything is fine and talk about music and dancing.

Uh, yes, this was a real comment. Two hippie white women got up and said we should not talk about politics and just laugh. They’re organizing a peace event where there will be bands and speakers, who have been instructed explicitly to not be political. Just focus on good music, food, and dancing. 

My take: Somebody please hand them a Pepsi. Pepsi, please come collect your people. No, you cannot have a rally against white supremacists and not get political. This is simply insulting and offensive to the actual pain and material harm caused by the alt-right, that is being felt by communities of color and the Jewish community. Folks, please remember that you can center your protest around peace and joy and be politically conscious. 

Perspective #4: All tactics are necessary. Make room for everyone. 

Feng Kung, the lead organizer of Jobs with Justice SF and the co-founder of Bay Resistance, made a moving remark, explaining why they are choosing to go to Crissy Field. Kung is going to Crissy field not because they want to be violent (“No, I have a little boy that I want to come home to”), but because they believe in standing up to confront the oppressors face-to-face. And Kung asked that folks get engaged, in whatever form they choose, but to “please leave room for us.” 

My take: This resonated with me a lot. No matter where we stand on the political spectrum of the left, or what our preferred tactic is, we have to remember, we’re all fighting against the same enemy right now. We have to make room for everyone, and have each other’s back. Yes, yes, and yes. 

There were many more comments I didn’t get to capture here — most other comments were plugs for other events, and didn’t add much more to the perspective discussion, IMHO.

The most important takeaway is this: you have options. It’s up to you to reflect on what your engagement will look like and to ACT.

 Dr. Amos Brown giving his remark about the danger of indifference

Dr. Amos Brown giving his remark about the danger of indifference

Dr. Amos Brown, a civil rights activist who worked alongside MLK Jr and the President of SF NAACP, reminded us in the beginning of the meeting that the greatest threat we have to battle during times like this is indifference. Hearing directly from someone who lived and fought through the oppression that resembles the hatred we see today was truly humbling and sobering. 

My final thoughts and calls for action: 

  1. Support all people who are participating in anti-white supremacy events
  2. Stop creating new events — there are a lot of options already. Build coalition, join forces, support one another, consolidate so we can achieve more with fewer resources
  3. Show appreciation for folks going to Crissy Field and risking their physical safety to fight for justice, instead of criticizing their tactic 
  4. If you’re going to Crissy Field, please be prepared. Attend riot preparation workshops, read protest safety guides, watch online training videos, purchase appropriate gears and first aid kits. This is not a joke, and this is not a drill
  5. Wherever you are, be cautious and thoughtful about how you engage with the law enforcement. If you’re white or East Asian, be the buffer for black and brown folks, who are more likely to be profiled or targeted by the police — do not let our people, especially our brave young people, getting arrested!
  6. The fight doesn’t start or end this weekend. We need more education, teach-ins, strategizing to happen before and after, and ongoing, to build capacity to organize en mass, in unity; thank you Director Davis for this reminder from our youth
  7. We have to envision an alternative future and ground our movement in that vision — rather than centering our movement solely on opposing their vision

Last week, I posted a list of counter-protest events I found. I’ve since updated the list multiple times to reflect new events that have popped up. Check it out

So what am I going to do? 

I’m either going to be at Crissy Field or I’ll be supporting my fellow organizer friends at Harvey Milk Plaza, then marching over together to Civic Center to join the rally. Either way, I’ll be rocking my hottest protest outfit and my red lips (call me “fearless and fabulous”),

Want to join me? Subscribe to my mailing list here — I’ll be sending out an update prior to Saturday. 

Let’s show up, San Francisco.

It’s our turn to strike.