Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) gets its name from June 19, 1865, the day that Federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War was over and ensure that enslaved African Americans were freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.
At Kanopi, we’re all about creating impact for our clients. And as we are committed to diversity in all its forms (diversity boosts innovation and creates better products after all), we want to observe Juneteenth in an impactful way. This holiday — which is also a Kanopi-recognized holiday — gives us an opportunity to reflect, take stock of some progress that Kanopi has made, and look ahead to what more we can accomplish.
There are three ways we’re working hard to serve our employees, clients and community:
Kanopi has always led the way by being one of the few Drupal agencies that are woman-owned and has been since its inception. We pride ourselves on being largely women-run and having a high percentage of female and gender non-conforming employees (61%, at last count), and more than 50% of our employees are over the age of 40. These statistics are rare in any tech space.
We’re also a leading agency when it comes to accessibility, with experts on staff who regularly speak on the subject (check out our accessibility and inclusion posts). Every one of our websites is AA-compliant at launch. Making sites accessible allows access to those with disabilities, and making sites inclusive supports everyone for their uniqueness and individuality.
Yet even though we had more diverse staff than most agencies in a few ways, back in 2019 we recognized that we could do better and be more inclusive when it came to hiring. We were not as racially or culturally diverse as we wanted to be, so we made some strategic efforts to align our hiring efforts with diversity, equity, and inclusion over the next year.
Here are some steps we took to accomplish that:
- We intentionally posted job openings on social media using hashtags targeting BIPOC, female, and LGBTQ candidates. This meant not only tagging for #WordPress or #Drupal, but also using hashtags such as #BlackTechTwitter, #LatinXTechTwitter, #LGBTQTechTwitter, and #DiversifyTech.
- We trained our interview teams and our staff to check their own biases, use inclusive language, learn to “call each other in” when needed, and focus on creating a welcoming, safe space for new hires from varied backgrounds.
- We updated the inclusivity statement on our website to be more specific to these efforts.
- Because we are a company that seeks out a diverse, inclusive client base, dedicated to making the world a better place, we included an alignment statement on all applications to allow candidates the opportunity to opt into and align with our commitment in serving and working with underserved and underestimated communities.
So how did we do? Here are some stats from the last 6 months (January-June, 2021)
Kanopi is not only woman-owned and led, but can now boast:
- a 13% increase in employees over 40 (for 54% of staff total),
- an 11% increase in BIPOC employees (now making up 22% of our staff), and
- a 2% increase in female or gender-non-conforming employees (making up 61% of our staff).
In order to do this, we had:
- 3,896 new candidates enter our application process over one year
- Resulting in 74 candidates being interviewed
- With 12 candidates ultimately hired.
It’s an encouraging start.
Over 1 million websites run on Drupal and there is consistent demand for Drupal talent across the globe. And yet the number of individuals who identify as a racial minority in Drupal in North America is frustratingly low.
Extending our commitment to diversifying our corner of the tech world, Kanopi became a founding sponsor of Discover Drupal. Run by the Drupal Association, this scholarship and training program is currently open to individuals 18 or older living in North America that identify as racial minorities and provides training and support so they can have careers in Drupal. The goal is to have students graduate every year and be in a position to be hired for internships or jobs with Drupal agencies looking for diverse talent.
In addition to sponsorship, there are two staff members volunteering with the program: Allison Manley, who is acting as Project Manager, and AmyJune Hineline, who is acting as a mentor for the students.
Starting on June 19, 2020, Kanopi gave employees the holiday to use for any volunteer, training, civic service, or reflection around the holiday and its meaning. And as of this week, the rest of the country is recognizing it as well.
Our staff is using the day in a variety of ways, from local volunteer opportunities, to reading, to watching black films in order to support black artists and understand their viewpoints.
What can you do for Juneteenth?
There are so many ways you can use your time and energy this Saturday, June 19th. But here are a few ideas:
- Celebrate Black culture and history. Read a book club by an established or emerging Black writer.
- Similarly, check out a movie by Black artists and experience a different point of view.
- Check out the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project from the New York Times.
- Live in Atlanta or Chicago? Support local restaurants through Black People Eats, which has over 110 restaurants involved.
- Find ways to support and contribute to your local Black community. Eat and shop at black-owned businesses.
- Look for local fairs, parades, marketplaces, museum events, and other ways you can show up and show out for Juneteenth.