A message from Twilio founder and CEO Jeff Lawson on equity, antiracism, and Twilio's committment to holding ourselves accountable.
The senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black people in America amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic have served as a breaking point on racial injustice around the world. Over the past few weeks, we have been listening, reflecting, and identifying meaningful actions we can take to ensure we are working against racism and injustice.
At Twilio, diversity and inclusion are woven into our core values. We are intentional about prioritizing equality of opportunity. This means recruiting developers and employees from dynamic backgrounds—including race, education, sexual orientation, income status, and geography—and fostering a culture of belonging. But put simply, this is not enough. We know systemic racism persists, and we will do everything to root it out here and elsewhere.
As a company and as a society, we have work to do.
Our existence should strengthen our communities and society overall, and our work starts by ensuring that Twilio is equitable for all employees. As we work to expand equality for everyone within Twilio, we also need to work toward equality everywhere. We must utilize our product, our people, and our resources to create systemic change in the world.
In sharing these commitments, we are holding ourselves accountable and aiming to contribute to the important movement of dismantling systemic racism. We know we are only a short way into this journey and have a long way to go. We also recognize this work is larger than Twilio, and requires both immediate and sustained effort. It is our collective responsibility to create change, and Twilio is committed to doing the work. These are the initial actions we are taking as a company:
- Honor Juneteenth with action and reflection: Twilio is making Juneteenth a permanent, paid, company-wide holiday beginning Friday, June 19. Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States and is a reminder of the continued effort required to uphold a legacy of freedom. We encourage all employees to take the day to focus on their mental health, reflect on ways they can fight social injustices, and/or participate in social activism. Twilio is facilitating a virtual Read Aloud opportunity in partnership with our Black Twilions Employee Resource Group, to contribute educational content centered around people of color to schools in our communities.
- Drive equity and inclusion within Twilio: Through professional development programs and focused recruiting, we commit to achieving representation parity for Black Twilions at every level of the company. We will continue to audit processes and practices to ensure equity for Black Twilions, and commit to maintaining pay equity across the organization. We will continue to publish our diversity and inclusion data to hold ourselves accountable to the measures that we are setting today.
- Support organizations advancing social justice: We are matching employee donations to the NAACP Legal Defense, and Education Fund & Center for Policing Equity, 2:1 through the month of June to maximize the impact of Twilions' contributions. We are providing additional grants to organizations selected by the Black Twilions Employee Resource Group, and nonprofits focused on developing tech talent from underrepresented populations. This is required for long-term progress, and we will continue to provide programs that amplify employee contributions of time and money to drive systemic changes in education, political participation, and economic justice.
- Drive voter participation and civic engagement: Mobilizing voters and working against voter suppression is crucial to ensure elected officials and legislation reflect the values of the people they serve. Twilio’s social impact arm, Twilio.org, is providing $400,000 in grant funding to organizations working to ensure safe and fair elections in the U.S., including some with particular focus on get-out-the-vote efforts among Black communities. We will also provide discounts, credits, training, and technical help to organizations that leverage communications to drive get-out-the-vote programs and challenge practices that disenfranchise Black, Latinx, Native American, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups.
Actions speak louder than words. Intent is never a stand-in for impact. As a company, Twilio commits to reporting on the progress we’ve made around each of these initiatives a year from now.
Twilio is a company of builders, and the drive to build a better world is in our DNA. Twilio can and will do better. We are committed to iterating as we listen, learn, and progress as an anti-racist company.