Moving from Color Blind to Color Brave

The journey toward racial equity and justice

Charles Meyers
Kevin Thames

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. suggests the greater goal of racial equity and justice can be achieved through individual acts of compassion and service. We are proud to honor this amazing Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy by recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day as a national holiday for our U.S. employees.

This is also the first time we are writing a blog in recognition of MLK Day. We realize that now, more than ever, each of us needs to lend our voice and willpower to create progress—and that it requires seemingly small actions from both individuals and organizations to create more equitable workplaces as a step in building a more just world.

This decision is part of our commitment to diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) and to create a culture where all of our employees can bring their true selves to work and say, “I’m safe, I belong and I matter.” At Equinix, our commitment to creating this culture is inspired by the passionate voices of our colleagues around the world.

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

At Equinix, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) are foundational to our values. We are continuously making updates to our talent acquisition process to support the attraction, application and hiring of a diverse pool of candidates.

Learn More
Focused arican american millennial female team leader leaned over table, writing down project ideas, editing documentation at brainstorming business meeting with diverse partners or clients at office.

A day on, not a day off

We recognize that MLK Day is “a day on, not a day off,” as it is the only U.S. federal holiday designated as a national day of service that encourages all Americans to help improve their communities. As we strive at Equinix to be in service to each other, our customers, partners, shareholders and the communities in which we live and operate, the observance of MLK Day allows us to honor the legacy of Dr. King, while also providing many of us with a day to be in service to others.

Collectively, we are committed to advancing racial diversity at all levels of our company and racial justice in our communities. And, though we are proud of how far we’ve come in elevating DIB throughout our global organization, this is an evolving journey, which we recognize we are just beginning.

Color blind to color brave

In order to undo the impact of centuries of systemic racial injustice, we recognize that having the right intentions and policies alone simply isn’t enough. We know that as an organization we need to move from being “color blind to color brave” to create necessary and impactful change.

Being color brave means recognizing and embracing the reality that we all see color. It is about not being blind to the challenges that come with being a person of color. Instead, it requires us to openly discuss the challenges that exist and work together to remove the systemic barriers that persist. It also means knowing that although you may not understand someone else’s ethnic history, struggles or triumphs, or have all the answers, you are ready to listen and learn. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable with ourselves by asking tough questions like “How are my actions, as well as my inaction, reinforcing racial bias and perpetuating the problem?” and “How can I prevent those behaviors in order to make a real and lasting change ?”

Kevin at a Black Lives Matter Rally in Atlanta, GA

It is hard to believe that some of us living today were born in a time when Black people did not have the right to vote. Being color blind sets us back because it basically says, ‘Nothing ever happened.’ But racism has a living history. Being color brave says, ‘Don’t dismiss it, talk about it.'"
Kevin Thames

Our journey toward racial justice and equity

A key starting point for us has been creating open, honest and courageous conversations across our entire organization, where our colleagues can openly and safely offer their own stories, lived experiences and perspectives on racial justice. We are wholly committed to continuing to take bold steps to learn together as we increase our understanding of and empathy for one another. This strong foundation of trust and candor will support us as we work to level the playing field by increasing opportunities, development and representation for the diverse communities we serve.

Recognizing that we have much more work to do to reach our racial justice and equity goals at Equinix, in the U.S. and on a global scale, we are dedicated to embedding inclusion into every aspect of our business. Today, we’d like to share an update on our progress:

  • Employee networks, sponsorship and allyship: Through executive sponsorship and the power of allyship with Equinix BlackConnect and our other Equinix Employee Connection Networks (EECNs), we continue to create space for crucial diversity conversations. We are proud to have realized this with our first-ever “WeConnect” Over 24 continuous hours, Equinix colleagues worldwide united together in conversations about differences, inequality and making change—and how we can work together to build a world with unequivocally equal human rights.
  • BlackConnect launch and initiatives: We established our BlackConnect EECN on May 18, 2020, with Charles as its executive sponsor and Kevin and Rosalyn Ford as co-leads.
I think being color brave is about acknowledgement and not ignoring it. It's actually about facing it head-on and making sure that people understand that it's okay to talk about color. And really, it does take some bravery to have the discussion because color or race is always difficult to talk about. For so many years we've ignored it. Now, really embracing color brave is key." Rosalyn Ford, Americas/Program Mgr. for SVP, Equinix Sales

BlackConnect founding council – Picture taken pre-COVID-19: (left to right front): Charlie (the dog), Kevin Thames, Olu Rowaiye, Meridian Witt, Des Hicks, Charles Meyers, Margo Ray, Rosalyn Ford, Israel Campbell and (back row) Anita Battle.

My two granddaughters are a driving force for me as an Executive Sponsor and ally for BlackConnect. Even at a very young age as biracial children, they are questioning what they can or cannot do because of the color of their skin…which is heartbreaking." Charles Meyers

BlackConnect and the Allies Council are taking meaningful action to cultivate a workplace and a society that embraces and vigorously defends equality and diversity. Here’s what we have accomplished so far:

  • Social Impact Donations: Equinix is making a 2:1 match to employee donations in support of organizations that fight for racial justice and equality, including the Black Lives Matter Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Equal Justice Initiative, Center for Policing Equity and Race Forward.
  • McKinsey’s Black Leadership Academy: We are partnering with McKinsey to offer a unique development opportunity specifically designed for Black leaders to expand their leadership capabilities and take the next step in their careers.
  • The G100 Talent Consortium Task Force: As part of the G100 Consortium, the G100 Task Force helps organizations take a deep dive into core inequity issues for employees who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color. We are proud that Brandi Galvin Morandi, our Chief Legal and HR Officer, and Janet Ladd, Senior Director of DIB, are representing Equinix on the G100 Task Force. Together, we are building a toolkit for executive teams to solidify their collective will for organizational change as a prerequisite for engaging in more visible diversity, equity and inclusion work across their organizations.
  • Inclusive Terminology: We’ve changed commonly used terminology to reflect inclusivity across Equinix’s communications and interactions. For example, we are eliminating the use of industry terms such as “master/slave” and replacing them with “primary/secondary” or “host/client.” Through inclusive language, we seek to welcome all people with respect, dignity and impartiality, and proactively bring everyone into the collective group, excluding no one.
  • Mentorship: Elevating and sponsoring mentorship is critical to the advancement of underrepresented groups at Equinix. This year, the Equinix BlackConnect team is rolling out its mentorship program with approximately 30 mentors and an estimated 55 mentees.
  • CEO Action for Racial Equity and Fellowship Program: Charles is also active in the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ organization, participating in its 20 member governing committee. More than 1,500 CEOs and presidents belong to CEO Action and have pledged to “ACT ON” supporting a more inclusive workplace for employees and building communities at large.[1]Equinix also joined the group’s CEO Action Fellowship Program that was established in June 2020. The CEO Action Fellowship Program identifies, develops and promotes scalable and sustainable policies and corporate best practices that address systemic racism and social injustice to improve societal well-being. Exceptional individuals from member companies spend up to two years dedicated to the program full time. Three Equinix employees are joining the inaugural cohort of the CEO Action Fellowship and we look forward to updating you on their journey in the future.
We’re explicitly building avenues to create a better flow of candidates from underrepresented groups …whether we’re increasing our relationships with historically Black educational institutions or creating more military recruitment programs." Charles Meyers

Setting a course for greater racial diversity, equity and justice

We know we have a lot more work to do to achieve our goals for greater racial diversity and equity at Equinix, but we are confident we’re heading in the right direction. We are also encouraged and heartened that BlackConnect has been welcomed with positivity and enthusiasm within Equinix and the communities we serve.

As advocates for diversity, inclusion and belonging, we will continue to support the fight for racial justice. This means remaining committed to undertaking the necessary steps to embrace our differences, remove systemic barriers and build a more inclusive culture—inside and outside of Equinix—that can accelerate real and lasting change.

#InServiceTo

Please view The Journey to Equinix video to learn more about our DIB culture at Equinix:

You may also want to check out our Careers page.

 

[1] CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.

 

Being able to bring talented, energetic and passionate people to solve these problems in a large scale is a big part of moving racial equity forward. The learnings from participating in the Fellowship Program will also bring great value back into our organization." Charles Meyers
Charles Meyers
Charles Meyers President & CEO of Equinix
Kevin Thames
Kevin Thames Senior Director, Partner & Alliance Sales Americas