Editor’s note: In the wake of protests in San Jose and across the nation following the death of George Floyd, we asked several executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders to weigh in on what the business community needed to do to correct racial injustices. The following commentary comes from Mike Lee, CEO of Manticore.
As a Black CEO in Silicon Valley, I want to share a word of advice to my fellow business owners and executives. It is important to show your support and stand up in situations of wrongdoing. If something doesn’t feel or seem right, do something about it. Stand up. Be the differentiating factor because in that brief moment, what you do can change the outcome.
In the current times with all the tensions, riots, police brutality, and so much more coming to light. It is important that as a community, we can be honest with ourselves about our beliefs. This is not the time to share your support because you see your peers doing it or because you’ve seen it on social media. This is the time to dig deep and understand what you are standing for and why. If you have questions about what is happening, do your research, don’t be afraid to ask someone to explain the situation. Having a greater understanding will help guide your decision. Seek out the knowledge
From what I have seen I am very happy with what our San Jose community is doing to make a difference. I have seen people of every nationality and creed coming together to make a change. Recently, I saw a video of Mayor Sam Liccardo, standing with the protesters letting them know that San Jose isn’t a city that stands for this. The type of leaders who stands with their people at a time like this is what is really going to help move this forward.
However, at the same time I am very saddened at those who are destroying our community and taking advantage of situations. Many friends of mine who own business in the community that we love have been affected and I can’t stand for that.
At the end of the day, we need to understand that real change starts when people are willing to be the change.
About the author: Mike Lee is CEO of Manticore, a marketing service provider in San Jose. He shares the stories of Silicon Valley influencers on his podcast @itsMikeLee.