The ugly reality of continued systemic racism in our country has left us angry and saddened for friends, family, and neighbors in the Black community.
At Odyssey, we have prided ourselves on building a platform of diverse views and voices. We have worked hard to build a space for our Creators to express themselves and to develop and share their opinions within our community. In service of this openness, we've also worked hard to remain non-partisan in our own stance and voice.
But the painful and brutal events of the last few weeks have reminded us that we all can, and need, to do better. We need to make clear that we are anti-racism in our views and in our actions. This is not a political point of view, but a human one. No one is "less than" because of their skin color. No one should be at risk of losing their safety, their life, or their opportunity to thrive because of their skin color.
Alongside our outrage and anguish, we feel a call to action. To ensure that we live out our commitment to equity and representation, both internally as a team and externally in our relationships with Creators and readers, we need to do a better job of reflecting the world we wish to see and inhabit.
Here's how we will do this:
1. We will support and uplift voices within and in support of the Black community on Odyssey.
We have been humbled and motivated by the outpouring of support for the Black community we've seen within our Creator network. We have made a conscious effort to feature as much of this content as possible and will continue to do so for the Black voices within our communities and voices in support of the Black community and the fight against racial injustice.
2. We will work harder to diversify our own workforce.
We are a small and strong team, and more diversity will make us stronger. While we are not currently in hiring mode, going forward we will implement a policy that requires an equal or greater number of BIPOC applicants in early interviewing rounds. As we do open up hiring, we will build on this policy and continue to look for ways to ensure that we improve our diversity as quickly as we're able.
3. We will put our words shared online into action in our community.
We recognize that staff is committed to personal contribution to our communities, as we all work to do better ourselves. Effective July 1, we will expand our Community Service policy so that every Odyssey employee is allowed one day per month to work on community and/or cause-related issues.
4. We will address the demographic makeup of our Creator communities.
While we're extremely proud of the quality and the commitment of our Odyssey Creators, we need to do much more to support and encourage more Black voices. We need to reflect a more comprehensive and representative world for our audience, and we also know that elevating the voices of the disenfranchised can result in true change. We will be reaching out to organizations and communities that support Black writers and students, to learn and to recruit. We need to ensure that our platform is both welcoming and open to any and all who want to be heard.
These ideas represent a starting point; we are committed to finding more ways for Odyssey to represent and support the Black community in all aspects of our business.
The responsibility to set this course, and hold ourselves to it, lies with our management team. That said, the work itself belongs to all of us, and we continue to welcome the thoughtful input and ideas of every employee.