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As protests fighting for racial justice broke out this week triggered by the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and other past injustices, brands are being forced to reflect on the role they play in advancing inclusion and diversity in the workplace and online. Now, Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, is doing his part.
Ohanian announced today that he’ll be resigning from Reddit and urged the company to hire a Black successor in his place. “I co-founded @reddit 15 years ago to help people find community and a sense of belonging. It is long overdue to do the right thing. I’m doing this for me, for my family, and for my country,” he captioned a video of his announcement. Ohanian, who has a daughter, Olympia, with wife Serena Williams, explained he chose to resign so that he’ll “be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?'”
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In addition to urging his company to bring on a Black board member in his place, Ohanian also announced that he’ll be using his Reddit stock to “serve the black community” and pledged $1 million to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights campaign. Ohanian previously backed the Black-owned, San Francisco-based hair parlor Naza Beauty run by Natanya Montgomery.
“I believe resignation can actually be an act of leadership from people in power right now. To everyone fighting to fix our broken nation: Do not stop,” he added.
Ohanian’s decision to step down follows a week of protests worldwide, brands releasing statements—Reddit included—and initiatives like Sharon Chuter of Uoma Beauty’s #PullUporShutUp campaign, which aims to hold brands accountable for their lack of Black employees, especially in leadership roles.
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