You may have noticed that there are fewer new articles than usual on Inc.com today. That's because the entire Inc. team is taking the day off in honor of Juneteenth. As you know, June 19 was the date in 1865 when General Gordon Granger of the Union Army read the federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that freed the last of the slaves held by a defeated Confederate state. That date now commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and the nation's recommitment to the ideal expressed in President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of 1863 and the Declaration of Independence, signed almost 90 years earlier, that "all men are created equal."
We at Inc. are taking Juneteenth off not because that ideal has been achieved, but because it hasn't. We are in the midst of a nationwide self-examination, in which the privileged among us have been compelled to confront the gulf between what we are as a nation and what we want to be. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks make it clear how far we have to go. All white people are now witness to a reality that black people have always known. Before the events of the past month, it was possible for people like me to pretend that the police treated white people and black people equitably. Before the past month, it was possible for people like me to imagine that what success we have in life stems solely from our own hard work and talent--and to ignore the subtle social infrastructure that gives us a head start at birth and a steady tailwind through life.
We at Inc. have written quite a bit in the past month about the nation's self-examination. And in recent days, we've turned the lens on ourselves. In tough conversations over the past week, we've acknowledged how far each of us has to go as individuals, myself definitely included. My colleagues at Inc. have suggested that we use the day off to reflect, read, and perhaps peel away some of the consoling myths that people like me have hidden behind for generations. For my part, I'm finally going to watch 13th, Ava DuVernay's 2016 documentary about mass incarceration in the United States, to dig deeper into Between the World and Me, which Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote as a letter to his son in 2015, and to catch more episodes of Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, the series created by Emmanuel Acho to discuss issues of race with white people. Here is a reading list in case you'd like to do something similar.
At Inc., we have pledged to do better as a company as well. Inspired by recommendations from all over the organization, we have committed to considering at least two candidates from minority groups for every open position. We are forming a committee of staffers across the whole team to keep our focus on diversity and equity in our hiring and retention practices, and to make sure that we are a leader in the field and not a follower. One of the committee's first tasks will be to select advisers to survey our staff, audit our existing practices, and help us build a lasting strategy that will keep us on track well into the future.
All self-aware companies are embarking on the same kind of journey right now. Some are further along than we are, some not, but none of us can fool ourselves any longer that we fully embody the ideals we espouse in our mission statements and solemn codes of workplace culture. We at Inc. are taking the day to seek a better understanding of where we come up short. On the path to understanding, many of us will have to abandon beliefs that have salved our consciences for a long time. That will take work. At Inc., the work starts today.