Black History Month: The importance of being seen and heard

Black History Month

As we reflect on Black History Month coming to a close, these are a few of my thoughts...

In a recent internal ForgeRock blog, one of our embRACE Employee Resource Group Leads, Niah Johnson, wrote about her experience as a young Black woman. She focused on the importance of creating a culture and working environment that feels safe and intentionally advocates for its people, especially those who identify as part of an underrepresented group.

When I read Niah's blog I was reminded of times in my life where I have paused to understand the gravity of things that happened to people on my team. I can recall conversations I've had with African American team members who were experiencing significant harm to their community and with loved ones. Just by being curious, making room, and creating safety for individuals to share, I came to understand more deeply the challenges, the fear they sometimes had in navigating company environments. I realized that by seeking to understand our differences actually brought us closer. It was those conversations that led me to do more introspection into my own life experiences, to be more proximate to how they felt every day and take my good intentions and use them to hold myself accountable to act.

Black History Month is an important time to reflect on the rich history and contributions of Black Americans to our society. It is a time to celebrate the achievements and successes of Black leaders and activists who fought for justice and equality, as well as to acknowledge the racism and struggles that they faced and continue to face. This time provides an opportunity to learn from the past, work towards a better tomorrow and ensure our future is one where everyone is treated with dignity and respect regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background.

Since our inception, ForgeRock has always championed respect for individuality. When people feel like they can speak up and share their opinions without fear of repercussions, they are more likely to engage in open and honest communication. Trust and psychological safety are foundational to empowering our people to turn up as their authentic selves.

To ensure we continue to foster a diverse workplace we have turned to experts like @Ruchika Tulshyan, @Marc Brackett, and initiatives like recruiting techniques to remove bias from the hiring process, and training on how to identify and dispel one's biases. One of our cultural pillars is Global Teams Built on Trust. This means we prioritize trust and safety as the currency of high-performing teams and companies.

We will continue to champion equality, we will strive to always listen and be better today than we were yesterday, and we always seek to embrace our differences, because it's our differences that bring us together.

Most importantly, we will continue to advocate for and protect the rights of those who can be made to feel unseen. We proudly stand with our Black friends, family, and fellow ForgeRockers. Not because we know the challenges they face, but because it's the right thing to do.

Because at ForgeRock we call our culture Our Identity, but at ForgeRock it's your identity that matters.