This is a profoundly challenging time for America. The sight of a black man being murdered so casually and the scenes of chaos and brutality that have followed have been deeply disturbing. Like so many of you, Mike and I have been coping with feelings of anger, sorrow and above all, helplessness. What meaningful action can we take against problems as large as systemic racial inequity, disharmony, and injustice?
Nevertheless, that feeling of helplessness shouldn’t turn into complacency. We can’t allow a search for the perfect action to mean we take no action. After a lot of internal discussions, we settled on three criteria for meaningful, authentic action:
- It must have a real, quantifiable impact; it cannot simply be a statement of support. We are entrepreneurs and builders; we want the contributions to be our time and resources. Too often in our journey at Signifyd, we encountered individuals who offered kind words with nothing concrete. We do not want that.
- It must embody Signifyd’s mission. Our mission is fearless commerce. That means stopping fraud, but more importantly, it means letting the honest buyers transact. We try to discover the truth through data and technology. Our public institutions should do the same.
- It must be focused on the most vulnerable among us. As Silicon Valley executives, we are a privileged group. Our jobs enable us to give opportunities to many people, through the employment we can offer. However, our day-to-day responsibilities at Signifyd don’t bring us into regular contact with people that the justice system has failed in a profound way. Those are the people we want to help.
These criteria led us to the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project was founded in 1992. It seeks to overturn wrongful convictions through the use of data, primarily DNA testing, in addition to pursuing general reform of the criminal justice system. As their website states, “The total number of wrongful convictions overturned through DNA testing underline the racial disparities in our system; 254 people have been exonerated through DNA tests, and 172 of them have been black or Latino.” Since its founding, the Innocence Project has overturned 189 wrongful convictions. It directly addresses the systemic racism of the criminal justice system in a meaningful way, returning the lives of so many black men and women.
To benefit the Innocence Project, each year Signifyd will hold an employee donation drive on May 25th to remember George Floyd and remind us of the consequences of inaction. The executives of Signifyd will jump-start the drive this year with a contribution of $20,000. We hope to match that in employee contributions but respect each employee’s right to effect change in their own way.
Be safe, and take care of one another,
Raj and Mike