Black Lives Matter

I’ve had a hard time writing about martech these past couple of weeks.

So I’m just going to write what I want to say, what I need to say.

The terrible injustice of the killing of George Floyd was appalling and ugly. The fact that he was one of many victims of such violence and racism — even in just the past month — is all the more gut-wrenching.

On top of that, watching the unjustified suppression of protestors decrying these injustices, in cities that I thought I knew, a country I thought I knew, was infuriating and surreal.

I had hoped, naively, that we had made more progress in 21st century America. That’s what I had wanted to believe. I painfully recognize now that such naivete enabled these wrongs to go unchallenged.

It’s long overdue for me to shed that naivete.

My family and I joined the protest in our city. We went to be counted with those who find this systemic racism unacceptable. But I also went to listen and to have my daughter listen. And what I heard filled my eyes with tears of sorrow, anger, and shame.

To hear the stories from young, Black students in Cambridge — the city I had thought of as the enlightened center of Harvard and MIT — who to this day faced racism in their classrooms and school sports was devastating. But the many variations of “the talk” they received, about how to avoid being shot — shot — as a Black teenager were truly horrifying. As a parent, to even try to comprehend the thoughts and emotions that their own parents must have struggled with is beyond my mind’s ability to even process.

This was all around me for 15 years. And yet I didn’t see.

But I will face up to that reality now, a reality that must be changed. I will look and listen and learn and not turn away from the work to challenge these wrongs.

Martech is insignificant compared to this. But martech is not free of it either. For all my years of covering this field, there have been few Black voices in my conversations. This is a problem in the broader tech industry — one that must be addressed in everything from education to hiring to investments. I’ll actively push for those changes. But I won’t accept that as an excuse for not addressing disparities in my own domain.

Black Lives Matter.

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