Articles, i-Citizen

Mozilla Racial Justice Commitments: One Year In

Published on 24. June, 2021

One year ago, we made a set of commitments to make diversity and inclusion more than a catchphrase or hot button topic. We decided to roll up our sleeves and get busy establishing significant goals, putting resources behind them and making sure that everyone, including our company leadership, was taking action to create a more diverse and equitable place at Mozilla and in society.

We have taken steps to address the issue of anti-Black racism and the lack of diversity and inclusion in our company, and hopefully, in society, through programming and people initiatives.  We have seen a significant increase in participation in diversity and inclusion initiatives, and perhaps, equally important, in our engagement survey results and in particular the increased scores on diversity and inclusion questions by people of color and women. While we have made strides on many of the goals established on June 18, 2020, we recognize this progress is the “First Step Toward Lasting Change.”  We continue to be committed through our actions and resources to improve Mozilla as a place to work for people of color and the internet for all.

1. Who we are: Our employee base and our communities

In our upcoming diversity and inclusion disclosure, you will find that we have greatly invested in improving diversity and enhancing a culture of inclusion at Mozilla. Through a balance of fun, education, celebration and conversations, we created safe spaces for people of color to share the totality of their human experience, honoring the beauty and joy of their lives and holding space to contend with the more sobering and harsh realities of race in society. 

We hosted three  panel discussions that each covered pertinent and insightful topics as designed by our Mozilla Resource Groups. There were the ones that gave us belly laughs – “What does it mean to lose your black card?” – and there were the ones that challenged us – “What is the impact of the model minority myth?” 

We held facilitated discussions designed to provide employees with an opportunity to engage in deep listening and sharing following an onslaught of racial violence across the U.S. These sessions, aptly named Gather @Mozilla, gave us an opportunity to collectively process some of the traumatic and triggering events happening around us. 

Our goal was to provide various options for employees to connect and learn. Recognizing that learning is a personal experience, we offered paths for individual learning and collective learning. We published resource libraries (and shared them publicly: Black History Month, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month), hosted virtual cooking lessons, convened talks with renowned authors, curated music playlists (Latin and Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, API Heritage Month Playlist) and much more. By providing a breadth of opportunities to celebrate (Latin and Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, Black History Month celebration, Women’s History Month celebration, and Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration), we increased participation and invited our organization on a journey of co-creating an inclusive culture.  

As we round out the second half of 2021, we will be rolling out an Inclusion Champion program, working with DEI councils within each business group to promote organization-specific D&I programming, deploying a D&I skill development platform, and diversifying our talent acquisition pipeline.

2. What we build: Our outreach with our products

At Mozilla, we work to build a better internet and our products can help elevate the best of the internet. Through Pocket Collections, selections of stories curated by Pocket editors and guest editors, we introduced Collections that elevated diverse voices and gave insight into issues impacting BIPOC communities and the context around which they emerged (Racial Justice Collections, Essential Reading: Celebrating Juneteenth). We hoped to provide readers with content and perspectives they may not otherwise encounter.

We understood that when you point a finger at someone else, there is a finger pointing back at you. Thus, we launched a project that examined when and where biases creep into user research and design and initiated work efforts to reduce the amount of racist language in code (Remove all references to blacklist/whitelist within Gecko, Remove references to slave).

In the second half of 2021, our product teams will continue to identify opportunities to elevate diverse voices and combat unconscious biases in our products.

3. What we do beyond products: Our broader engagement with the world

We leveraged Dialogues & Debates, a speaker series, to address issues of A.I. and race and ethnicity and the challenges presented to communities of color because of this problem in tech and media. We had robust discussions about the use of technology to surveil historically vulnerable populations and used our network to call on fellow technology companies to be mindful of how they use technology in service to the criminal justice system instead of the communities of color we serve. The Mozilla Foundation launched campaigns calling on Nextdoor and Amazon Ring to pause their relationships with police departments and assess the impact of the platforms on users and communities of color. More than 28,000 people signed the petitions and several organizations partnered with Mozilla on escalation actions. 

We were able to have these critical community discussions and collaborations by being more thoughtful and intentional with the ways in which we used available funding from Mozilla Foundation in our commitment to social justice in tech and society. We granted 33% of Mozilla Foundation funds to black-led tech and social justice initiatives. Unfortunately, we fell short of our 40% target. While some may see this as a failure, we see it as an opportunity to acknowledge an area where we still need improvement and to commit to continuing to fund and elevate voices of color.

We also partnered with three Historically Black Colleges and Universities Engineering and Computer Science programs to promote the role of African Americans in tech, to engage in ethical computing discussions, and to cultivate relationships with aspiring scientists, designers and tech leaders so they understand there is a place for them in this industry.

Over the coming year, we are looking forward to deepening our relationships with institutions that serve and support communities of color and communities that have been historically marginalized. The First Step Toward Lasting Change squarely moves us along the journey of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging but is not the middle nor final step. There remains significant room for improvement and we are committed to continue the course in closing the gaps that exist in tech and society.  

The post Mozilla Racial Justice Commitments: One Year In appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Original article written by Mitchell Baker >