Everyone at the Table
Everyone at the Table is a series that explores everyday topics from the perspective of people... with different perspectives!
Good afternoon from New York City and welcome to everyone at the table. I am Hady Mendez, your host and the global lead for LatinFlair, Cloudflare's Latinx employee resource group or ERG.
As a reminder to those of you who didn't join us last week, employee resource groups are formed by employees of underrepresented groups who share a common characteristic, such as race or sexual orientation.
ERGs foster inclusion and belonging in the workplace.
Everyone at the table is a series that brings together members of different ERGs and allows us to explore everyday topics from the perspective of people with different perspectives.
To make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak and have their voice heard, I will be serving as the moderator.
And as a reminder to all of our viewers, we will be taking your questions at live studio at Cloudflare.TV.
So today on our show, we have representatives from a few ERGs at Cloudflare.
We invited them here today to talk about allyship.
When I think of allyship, a few things come to mind for me.
Showing up, speaking up and creating space. So for me, being an ally means that I show up for my Black colleagues and friends, I check in on them, I show them love and support, and I listen to them.
I listen to their reality. It also means that I speak up for racial justice wherever and whenever, no matter what.
And ultimately, it means that I create space for them.
Because it's important to amplify and hear Black voices right now.
Being an ally right now means acknowledging that this is not our time and this is not about us.
So panel, I'm curious to hear what being an ally means to you.
Please share your name, what office you're from, and then tell us a little bit about what motivated you to join today's conversation.
Malvika, would you like to start us off?
Sure. So hi, I'm Malvika Balachandran Tadej.
I'm a member of our special projects team and I'm based in our London office.
And just because special projects can mean a lot of different things in different companies.
I think it's also known as our corporate strategy or corporate development team.
As a bisexual Indian woman, I'm literally part of almost every ERG.
So I care about and am involved in all of the ERGs. And kind of why I'm here is I think, in general, growing up, I've never been a fan of things when they're unequal or unjust.
And I want the world to be fair and I want to fight for a better world.
And so that's really why I continue to invest time in the ERGs. Because I think there's so much potential for improvement and I don't want to accept the status quo.
Great. Thank you. Anyone else want to share?
Yeah, I'll jump in here. So I'm Talia. I'm from our San Francisco office.
And look, we all have a part to play right now. We're at a critical part of our history and 20 years from now.
I have to make sure that I can honestly say that I took a stand and I did everything that I could to support the Black community.
To make sure people or to make sure Black people are treated as humans.
And that no Black person ever has to be afraid of being killed because someone didn't think their life mattered enough.
And on the other side of that, I think about what future I want to create.
And starting to critically look at that and thinking about what actions I have to take, that we all have to take to get us there.
Amy or Zach? All right. Amy, would you like to go? Sure. I'm Amy. I'm on the office team in San Francisco.
And I'm here to talk today because I was invited to be here.
And I grew up in Minneapolis. So I'm like intimately connected to the kind of situation that has erupted that brought so much attention to what's kind of going on right now in the world.
But I was an ally at a young age.
I was the type that would go to, you know, I snuck into college parties and would argue with drunk white frat boys about human rights when I was a child.
And I realized that that wasn't, you know, really a path towards understanding.
And so, you know, I'm here to like learn how to be a good ally and how to hold space and make sure that, yeah, that equality is important and is being looked at.
And I'm mostly here to listen and learn from our communities and our ERGs.
Thanks, Amy. Hi, everyone.
My name is Zach. I'm a business development rep in San Francisco. My motivation for being here today is basically one that's motivated me throughout my entire career, my life, and my education.
I'm the son of an immigrant and a refugee.
So having a space to voice my opinion is very important to me and a space to espouse my beliefs and support those that I love and care for is important to me.
So thank you for having me. Thanks, everyone. As I listen to you guys share, I'm kind of like feeling like I want to share a little bit of my own story and why I'm here today.
So I will share that I'm here today because I'm angry.
And I'm tired of the senseless killings, especially at the hands of people that are supposed to be protecting us.
I am enraged and outraged at the atrocities that have been committed against our Black community for centuries.
And honestly, kind of a really honest question for all of our viewers and everyone here today is if you don't feel the same way, I think you should ask yourself, why not?
So panel, coming back to you, what's coming up for you right now?
And what have you heard from family and friends around Black Lives Matter, around what's happening around the country and the world right now?
What are you hearing?
Anyone can feel free to jump in now. I think like you, Hadi, I too feel really angry.
I think there's, on one hand, I'm glad that people are waking up.
But on the other hand, I'm like, where were all these people?
Like, these are not new atrocities. As you said, this is an issue that's been happening for centuries.
Police brutality, police violence is a serious issue.
And honestly, like post-90s Bill Clinton era, the war on drugs, I think a lot of the policies we see around policing in Black neighborhoods or Black and Latino neighborhoods have come out of a lot of that kind of war on drugs mentality of the 90s.
And so I think like you, I am glad to see that the narrative and mainstream cultures is starting to really question and not accept the status quo.
But like you, I think I'm angry that we're only now really starting to wake up and have these debates.
Totally. And to jump in here and echo a little bit of what you said, Hadi, this is the time for change and to focus on Black people in the Black community.
If you're resigned to what's going on around you right now in the world and in the Black community, ask yourself why.
Be uncomfortable, have empathy, do your research, get educated. And like what you were saying, allyship is an action.
And I think that message gets lost sometimes.
It's not just one thing that you did last Tuesday or last week on some random day.
It's a mentality and a way of being such that you are actively noticing when racist things are said, when racist actions are taken, or people are being targeted based off of the color of their skin.
And for me, it's constantly making it so uncomfortable for people who behave this way that they just feel like they have to stop because you're just making it not okay in that space.
And it exists today because every time we resign, we're saying it's okay to treat humans like that.
Thank you, Talia.
Well said. I just, I think that now is a time when it comes to actions for, we have elections coming up this year.
So just to encourage like our friends and family, like who are upset, you know, or, you know, we're all very angry.
But to really be looking at our municipalities and educating ourselves about like the district attorneys and the judges and stuff that are, because like it's really in the local communities that we need to see these things changing.
You know, there's been some hopeful things that are emerging from, you know, from the movement that's happening now as far as like policy shifting.
But really, like, I've been following like the League of Pissed Off Voters whenever I do my research for like, who am I going to vote for in these like small municipalities that I might not know.
But, you know, let's keep our eyes open for more voter guides and maybe there's going to be some more like Black Lives Matter or more people of color focused like voter guides.
I really think writing to our representatives and like those type of actions, because it's like we, you know, I don't have, honestly, people in my like day to day community that are just realizing that there's racism.
Like most of the people that I interact with on the day to day, like, we already know and have been like aware of these types of things and even working for change.
But, you know, we really need to educate ourselves like politically and make those voter and, you know, those kind of policy changes and know who to support.
Yeah, that's a great point.
Yeah, thank you for that. And I would obviously like to echo the sentiments of the fellow speakers today.
Basically, thank you for calling it a movement, not a moment in history, right?
This isn't an instance of racism. It's an institution of racism that we're trying to combat.
I definitely think that, you know, contemporarily with everything going on with COVID, everyone just kind of being in a reflective state and in a state of isolation.
A lot of people have had more time to identify with this cause, identify with, you know, inherent bias, racial injustice, right?
And so I think it's important to recognize that we're seeing the inequality in this system, that it's always existed.
And sometimes, you know, it had been explicit, but also been, again, like Talia said, not necessarily addressed.
So this is our time to say explicitly, excuse me, that this is not right.
This shouldn't exist in our society. And we want to shape our society for our children, right, and future generations.
And I think this is the best step forward.
I think that's a really good point about like enough is enough.
Let's keep, you know, we have to keep the momentum going.
We have to inform ourselves. We have to seek out information that's going to support the changes that we're looking for.
Anyone have a story, a personal story that they want to share about any encounters that they've had either with family, friends, colleagues, that you feel comfortable sharing today?
But, you know, just jump in. We'd love to hear them. Yeah, I recently had a discussion with my family around the rhetoric used in my native language, which is Arabic.
We spoke at home, amongst other languages, but also addressing, you know, the racial wording around certain words, right, and addressing, you know, how we speak of other people of different races.
And, you know, how a lot of it is rooted in oppressive behavior, historically.
And so just kind of attacking that head on, right, making a space where you can talk to your parents who generally tend to be a little more right wing than you and explaining to them like, hey, this is not a place of judgment, but rather understanding.
I'm trying to help you understand that those words don't have a place in today's society.
We've moved on from that.
Help us move on. Right. So I think those conversations are very healing, in a sense, and bring people closer together.
Thanks, Zach. That's good to hear.
Anyone else have a story they want to share? Um, was someone going to say something?
I was just going to say, I ended up in a phone conversation with a friend I hadn't talked to for a while last week.
And we were discussing what was happening.
And I was noticing she was using a lot of like rhetoric around like what was going on, like looting or, you know what I mean?
You know, we don't need violent protests or, you know, it's like, so we're having that.
And I said, I said, what we really need is repatriation or reparations, reparations, you know, like we need economic, like people need economic equalization.
That that is like in the systemic racism that's happening.
It's not just about, you know, police brutality, but there's all this like economic inequality that that has been by design.
And so like the Brookings Institute just released a report on April 15 about reparation.
So we had this conversation and she was like, well, who gets reparations?
And so then it was like a thing where I looked it up and I sent her some links, because we realized like just arguing back and forth about who gets this or that, you know, that we didn't have the full understanding.
We had to do more research, you know, and then I needed to send links.
And, and I think we need to be stopping the spread of disinformation.
That's one thing that's that we can also do in our communities is like, when you see your friend share some posts or share some headline or, or some tweet, it's like look into the validity of that.
Because like the way that, and I think tech companies have something to do with that.
Like in the Oakland, the first big Oakland protest, there was a shooting at a federal building that the police initially said was unrelated, but like suddenly it just like started going out there like they're already shooting, you know, law enforcement in Oakland and like on Twitter and it like really in this rhetoric can get so inflammatory and, and, and we're not questioning the validity of the sources.
So I think we need to like work with our communities and be stopping the spread of disinformation.
Yeah, that's, that's great. That's helpful. For sure. Um, Zach, when you were talking, you reminded me of something I learned about and actually I think you were part of the conversation, but it was like an internal discussion we were having with our Latin Flair ERG on last week and, and one of our colleagues directed us to this website called letters for black lives.com letters for black lives.com.
And apparently that website has the translation of like, how do you talk to your parents and grandparents about the movement.
And like, I don't know, you know, a lot of languages.
I don't know how many languages and I pulled that out in Spanish and sent it, you know, put it in our chat room for Latin Flair, because I felt like at least that's like a starting point for some people.
But, you know, we do want to be engaging other people. It's great that we're there and like, amen for that.
Right. And we need to kind of take it to the next level and make sure we're bringing the people that we know and love with us on this journey and into this movement.
So, um, I want to move on to the next question.
And kind of get pick your brain a little bit about one of two things.
So answer, answer the question in the way you want. One is What is your message to people that are hesitant to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
What do you want to tell them.
What do you want them to know Also, and so it's like a two step question answer whatever you kind of, you know, you're feeling you want to answer the most is what is something you want people To know so that that so that they can be better allies to their black colleagues and friends.
So one is, what is your message to people who are not quite there yet, but assuming they are there.
What are some ways that what is something they can do right now today, maybe, you know, one new thing that they can do to support each and and you know, um, yeah, to just show support and be better allies.
Who would like to start us off this time, Talia I'll start us off.
Okay, so my message is make it personal.
Imagine if this were your sister, your mom, your brother, your dad, and they were being treated this way.
What would you do And when it's personal, we, we can feel it and we can step into someone else's shoes and experience.
I remember just Talking with one of my one of our colleagues last week and thinking about, you know, times that I've experienced racism and then I took another step back and I was like, but wait, if I was looking from the perspective of a black person.
I've also You know, even though I've experienced racism never felt like my life was threatened and tap into that world like push yourself and ask yourself questions.
And don't not do anything because you're scared of making a mistake or you're uncomfortable or your resign.
There's a lot of us who are wondering what the right things to do are and You know, there's not necessarily a right answer.
There's definitely things that are harmful, but we're all Taking the actions that we think are right.
So listen and move forward. And if you make a mistake, acknowledge it, take responsibility for it.
And then keep moving forward.
Keep asking yourself, what can I do today that will make a difference and then go do that thing.
And one thing I think I constantly think about every day is, is this an opportunity to speak up.
Is this an opportunity to speak up just find that opportunity and be impactful.
And have courage. You need courage to be part of this movement.
We, you know, we're going to have to challenge people that are our friends and family and it's very uncomfortable.
It's going to be uncomfortable for them to hear and for us to say it, but that doesn't mean we don't we don't say it.
So thank you, Talia. That's excellent. I love it. Who else wants to chime in here.
We have probably about 10 minutes left. So I want to make sure we get some some, you know, as much information out there to everyone as we can.
Yeah, I mean, just on the topic of like, you know, if for people who say they they're not sure about supporting Black Lives Matter.
Particularly with with friends who are white when it reminds me a lot of some of the same time like sometimes people also say like, oh, I'm not a feminist or because there's this misunderstanding that that were that like that word or that label means that you think one like one group like Is fighting for more but like all that all that Black Lives Matter is about is about working towards having equal rights and equal treatment and the same with like the feminist movement is about equal rights and equal treatment.
And if like we're all were get like, yes, the title says Black Lives Matter, but that is because of the implied fact that we're treating white lives like they matter much more than black lives.
And so all we're asking for your support with is saying that, like, it truly is.
We believe that people should be treated equally.
But what this really is, is And I think this goes back to like being a good ally.
Like, I think that one of the things that I that I find like to be a good ally is you need to You can't get better until you know what you're doing wrong.
Right. And so if you realize that the black community is faith is facing Gross injustice, then, then, like, you have to acknowledge that we this is the community.
We are wrong. And this is the community. We are failing. And I think that's why the title Black Lives Matter is really important because it's part of acknowledging we have failed the black community.
We have not done enough. And now is the time to change that and like we're behind this community.
And I think you have to You have to state what you're doing wrong and show what you're doing wrong in order to start making right.
It's not just, you know, if you say we want to support everybody.
I think. So where are we identifying the problems. And I think that's, that's really what I feel is important about calling it Black Lives Matter.
Thanks. I would agree with that as well. And I just wanted to thank you guys for those very cogent points.
And yeah, you know, making it personal and identifying with that campaign and understanding that no rising tide lifts all boat.
Is the sentiment that we should be going in is the mind frame, we should be going in and having these discussions and framing these discussions and I would just pause it additionally to that is You know, realize your own bias as well.
Everyone has bias and ignoring that is ignoring, you know, major aspect of your subconscious of the way you think the way you internalize things.
So understand that you do have bias and actively work against that bias right in all aspects of life and every interaction.
You know, be more mindful. And I think to everyone out there who may be wondering, what can I do.
That is a very easy first step. Watch yourself internally right what you say what you do, how you behave around people and One step in the right direction is always better than not.
Yeah. Yeah, that's amazing. That's so true.
Um, and and going back to like the people who might be resisting Trying to dig into like what is that resistance about why is this making me uncomfortable as a white person as a white man as whomever you are.
If Black Lives Matter is causing is triggering a feeling dig into that.
Like, why, because really it's what you guys said, we're just, we're just trying to get everyone on equal footing here.
So why is that, why is that so uncomfortable shouldn't be Amy. Um, we haven't heard from you.
And so there's a few things you know there's a like multi layer question.
And the first one, as far as like, you know, if people are resistant in general to like the Black Lives Matter movement.
Like people are kind of where they're at.
Like, one thing is like I encourage people to vote with their dollars in general and use financial support to support organizations.
That they you know that they feel called to support.
So it's like there's a lot of different ways to support African American communities.
Without necessarily like waving an exact sign that says Black Lives Matter, which they absolutely do.
But it's like I encourage people to Like support different youth foundations that help make sure that children have opportunities and where we're like where we can where we can focus on on different Like I support an organization called Planting Justice that takes people who are in the penitentiary system and gives them like work pass.
So there's, there's a lot of ways to like be like, well, what do you care about You know, because people like the rhetoric in the media is can be really inflammatory and people can have resistance.
I also think it's important to like work through your own white guilt with your white friends and not expect your black and and people of color friends to like give you a pat on the back for any kind of like Like allyship that you're doing like you're trying to be a good person because you're a good person, not because it's the cool thing to do right now like Like what I've been doing, honestly, is trying to give a little bit of space to my colleagues who are going through this movement right now, especially like as it's very acute, you know, like When it came to posting stuff when the third precinct in Minneapolis was burning down like I was happy.
I know that that was a den of evil, personally, you know, and it's like I wanted to post a lot more than I did.
You know, and just be like, you know, like how I feel, but it's like I even waited 10 days before I said, hey, I'm from Minneapolis, but I didn't want to like shine that light on like You know, and it's like I talked to my friends, you know, outside the community like, hey, this is sad to see our city.
Burning down right now. Like what's going on there, you know, but, but also like the community in Minneapolis came so together and like supporting each other in such a beautiful way.
That I want like those kind of stories to get told just like from from like what people are doing there and how people are coming together and maybe we're getting a new model of public safety.
And I also remind people whenever they mentioned looting that the real looting started in 1492 that's one thing I say to people.
Thank you, Amy. That's, that's a good one.
Um, I want to give you guys one more thing, an opportunity to share one more thing, but I wanted to just highlight any one thing you said about finding your niche in the movement.
You know, you can be doing protests, you can be donating money doing a fundraiser.
You can be as a black. I'm sorry, as a manager, making sure that your team is diverse promoting and advancing Black colleagues and employees so you can do different things depending on your, your role.
So don't feel like, oh, I don't know what to do.
Pick one thing. Pick one thing and go with it.
Real quick, one more go around just really quick like short answer. What are you reading or watching or listening right now.
Amy, let's start with you real quick. What are you reading, watching or listening.
Just one answer. I've been reading the Atlantic and their coverage.
Thank you. Talia. How about you. What are you reading, watching or listening to Um, I haven't dug into it yet.
But one book we just ordered is how to not be stupid about racism so excited to dig into that.
Great. How about you Malvika reading, watching or listening to Watching the new BBC show about the Windrush generation.
Awesome. Zach. Well, I've read it already, but I'm reading it again.
Discipline and Punish by Michelle Foucault Awesome. Well, on that note, I want to bring this week's segment to a close.
We just have two more minutes, but not before thanking the panel.
So thank you very much for your openness and honesty.
I loved having you guys here today. I know we're preaching to the choir, but it's so lovely.
To be surrounded and work with people like you and your mindset.
I appreciate all you guys Next week, our viewing time is going to change because we're going to be catering to our viewer audience in the APAC region.
So everyone at the table where we're moving our time But we have not forgotten that June is Pride Month.
So we're going to be dedicating a whole segment next week to our friends at Proud Flair.
And speaking of Pride Month. I have the good news story of the week.
I think everyone here knows that the American LGBT community just got some really exciting news yesterday in a landmark case, the US Supreme Court ruled That the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation.
Right on. Right. The 63 Opinion was a huge win for the LGBT community and a historic victory.
So great win for everyone everywhere. Up next, please join us for Yes, We Can.
It's a recurring series presented by Proud Flair co-founder and COO Featuring interviews with women entrepreneurs and tech leaders who clearly debunk the myth that there are no women in tech.
So with that, we once again offer a big thank you to all of you for joining us at everyone at the table where your point of view is valued, appreciated, and heard.
See you next week. Bye, everybody.
Bye. Black Lives Matter. Bye. Transcribed by https://otter.ai