Juneteenth, Father's Day and What a time to be black!

I'd like to start off this post by apologizing to you, my reader for a huge disservice I've committed. I stopped writing. For quite a while at that. I have done an offense to you by putting down my digital pen and tucking away my thoughts from the world when at times, they needed to be heard. Whether it's a whisper or a loud cheer, it deserved to live where you can and could see it.

Today is not about me though. It's about you. At a time where humans everywhere have seen and experienced brutal and ravaging things, chief being this ongoing pandemic, volcanoes erupting in DRC and St. Vincent, folks losing their loved ones in Palestine, hate crimes against Asians in the United States. I mean the list goes on and on and its quite easy to get engulfed by sorrow by all the wrong in the world. There is good though. We still progress as a human race regardless of all factors that make us different and people are helping each other and standing up against what we see as evil towards fellow humans.

Today, deep inside, I feel like it's a wonderful time to be black and to identify as a black person. Yesterday, was Juneteenth, the day commemorating the emancipation of black people from slavery in the US, which the Biden administration rightfully, made a federal holiday. Apart from MLK day, I felt like this was a huge win for black folk especially after a year where voices called for justice against crimes by law enforcement towards black people. Today is Father's Day. I believe black fathers, more than most, have to work the hardest to provide for their families because in my opinion, odds are significantly stacked against them in several capitalistic economies. Mine included. These men don't complain. They do what they must, to make a better tomorrow for their families and loved ones. I salute that. I salute fathers who choose duty and honor to their dependents. I strive to be counted among you.

The reason I write today, I've noticed a shift in culture the tech startup culture with regard to talent acquisition. Personally, as a recipient of an opportunity to work in a hyper-growth company, I am starting to see more and more people who LOOK like me. In the past, most startups were extremely homogenous in terms of composition. An overwhelming population of young, white males, a few white females and an occasional black or asian person and that's it. As I was job hunting and looking at company websites, I asked myself why there is such disparity in a company that seems to make a product or sells a service that is meant to be used by all? Is it because the best products have to be made by a certain type of people for it to be successful? When I saw these company websites, I didn't even bother. That was a red flag for me. Why? With the BLM movement, the first folks to make a move were in the tech startup world. If companies I was checking out were lagging behind then recognition of a wrong was not part of who they were. For some though, recognizing that talent doesn't rely on trivial things like how someone looks, their sexual orientation, where they live or where they are from made them attractive to me and to many other folks. If as a company, they truly wanted to build a global product, leadership noticed that they have to build their principles on the foundation of diverse talent and equity and inclusivity. Sound and forward thinking leadership demands this. Get the best talent regardless of where they are in the world and pay them fairly. As global companies have a duty to create value to humanity, they also have a duty to give opportunities to people from disadvantaged/marginalized groups since that's where the impact is felt most. This kind of thinking led me to where I am right now and I give a huge shoutout to Sourcegraph and its leadership for being that kind of company and not settling for less. I look at the number of smart black, African people around me and wish that this writing could reach their eyes. They must know that somewhere in the world, there are companies that WANT and NEED you badly because of the different perspective that you bring and for the talent that you have that is not being properly recognized. Now is the time to make that move and put yourself out there to be seen. To be able to do your best work and earn fairly from it. You owe it to yourself. Weirdly, in Africa, I always ask why there is such a huge disparity on earnings for locals vs mostly white expatriates. Why is there a premium paid to external talent vs local talent? What's the difference in output from the two. If you want someone to produce an orange and they do just that, what stops you from buying that orange at the current market price. It doesn't matter if the producer is white, black, asian or whatever. I sure as hell know an orange tastes the same regardless of the hands that raised it. It's the orange you are buying. Period! I find this a common re-occurring theme especially in corporate and non-profit organizations right here in Kenya where there is an abundance of talent yet, it's never properly recognized. This needs to be addressed and fast at that. It's unfair and unjust and if this talent finds a place to export itself to, then you as a corporate or non-profit talent recruiter are in for it because no one will be willing to take you up on your offer since they can get better elsewhere. What I ask here, is fair and equal treatment for local black, African talent. Everywhere!

The reason I wrote this is because despite all the challenges, there are more and more Sourcegraphs coming up that view the human race as one and are making moves to get talent from where you are reading this from. Meaning, you are in a perfect place and time to make headways in your career, finances, health, all while making an impact to make the world a better place. To all my black brothers and sisters and to everyone else who cares to listen, this is a wonderful time to be black. As I write, I'm listening to Curtis Mayfield's "Move on up"(you may recognize the beat if you are a Kanye fan since he sampled it on "Touch the Sky"). It's what I'd love to share with you. There are better days ahead and they sun is shining down on you regardless of what you're going through right now. I'm Stompy. I'm proud to be black and I just thought you should know.

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