On June 3, 2020, we published The Power of Local and Our Commitment to Anti-Racism. In that post, we publicly committed to doubling down on our efforts to grow a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive team across the countries, cities, and communities in which we work. Then, in July 2020, we published, From Statement to Action: Our Commitment to Anti-Racism. The purpose was to share the results of our internal review and commit to taking four specific actions based on this review.
So, where exactly do we stand today regarding the public commitments we made two years ago? How have we translated our commitments into meaningful action?
Commitment to Diversity
We commit to revamping our Board of Directors and Advisory Board to reflect the diversity we celebrate within the Flying Labs Network. In addition, make the WeRobotics core team more diverse.
Our Actions: We fully revamped our Board of Directors and Advisory Board within five months of our commitment, as evidenced here. As a result, our Board is now more diverse and fully gender-balanced. We also diversified our core team, interns, and consultants between 2021 and 2022. In the coming weeks, we will announce an update to our core team that will make WeRobotics more diverse still.
Commitment to Flying Labs
We will co-create a Flying Labs Governance Council to co-create FlyingLabs.org as an independent legal entity to take over from WeRobotics as the primary enabler of the Flying Labs Network.
Our Actions: Within a month of this commitment, we co-launched the Flying Council with eight other self-selected Flying Labs. We subsequently co-created a roadmap to guide this transition. The Flying Council has met multiples in 2020, 2021, and 2022, with the most recent meeting in May 2022. Members of the Council are currently prioritizing the paperwork to incorporate FlyingLabs.org as an independent entity. Next, they will start fundraising so that the executive team of the new entity can be recruited to implement the roadmap.
Commitment to the Shift the Power Handbook
We will consolidate all our learnings from the past 5+ years so that others can use this blueprint to inform their localization and shift-the-power efforts.
Our Actions: We began working on this detailed and comprehensive document with multiple Flying Labs in 2021. We subsequently launched our completed report at the Skoll World Forum in 2022. The 50-page report includes over 70 references and more than 120 citations.
Commitment to Communications
We will develop a new communications strategy that focuses more explicitly on our core mission: shifting the power.
Our Actions: Within months of this commitment, we launched this Shift the Power page, which includes an ongoing and dedicated blog post series that details our work on shifting the power with local experts and organizations in 30+ countries.
We’re pleased with this progress and realize that there’s still more to be done on several fronts. And lots more learning to come. As noted in our blog post in July 2020, the fact that we at WeRobotics are deeply committed to radical inclusion and systemic change doesn’t mean that we’re perfect at living up to these commitments, unfortunately. We are part of the existing racist system that permeates the social good space. There is no escaping this. We are not immune. This is why we must continue to be open and vigilant about the implicit biases we can and do bring to WeRobotics. Only when we are open to exploring these biases and systemic challenges can we break these entrenched patterns.