5 June 2020 Courier Weekly

An open letter: enough is enough

On our future coverage and the launch of The Courier Fresh Fund to support young founders of Black-owned businesses.

No individual should live in fear or be denied equal opportunity on account of the colour of their skin. These are basic rights many in society take for granted and yet – as the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other horrific acts of violence and racism force us to accept – our institutions, businesses, schools and neighbourhoods are stained by systemic racism and the trauma it inflicts.

Black lives matter. We unreservedly support the protesters marching across the United States, the UK and around the globe to demand justice and equal treatment.

We have heard clearly from our team and our community that this is not a time for ‘slacktivism’. To only offer our support is not enough. We have listened to many Black founders, small business owners and Courier readers. We recognise there is so much more we can, and must, do to build a more equitable Courier and a fairer playing field for the Black business community.

There’s no place for racism at Courier. But despite our best intentions, we’ve realised we can do so much more to make our workplace more welcoming for Black people. We’re committed to educating ourselves, examining the language we use, our cultural biases and the way we go about recruiting and commissioning. This work begins today.

In our coverage, beginning with this special edition of the Courier Weekly and the accompanying debut episode of our Courier Weekly podcast, we’re going to do more to source and share insights into what life as a Black founder is really like. We want to take on the responsibility of ensuring the stories we’ve heard this week of systemic racism, workplace prejudice, barriers to access and downright fear are shared widely. Change must begin with fighting the ignorance and indifference within us and that surrounds us and we will use our print, audio and digital platforms more than ever to do this.

Finally, we are going to put our network and our resources to work to support young Black founders. Today we’re announcing The Courier Fresh Fund, a $50,000 (USD) fund to support founders of Black-owned businesses. We’re inviting Black founders under the age of 25 who are running a business or have a business idea they want to get off the ground to apply. Their voices and businesses will have a platform in our print, audio and digital channels. We’re assembling a diverse panel of experts to help us assess the applications.

Change only happens when people are prepared to overturn the comfort and familiarity of the status quo, and the work of addressing these injustices is urgent and ongoing. We’re incredibly grateful for the support and counsel of our contributors, our readers and the people whose stories we tell in this shared journey.

Until next time,
Jeff, Danny and the entire Courier team

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