Our responsibility goes beyond our work as a conscious employer (note: we have a lot to do), and importantly, points us to begin mobilizing our experience, insights and deeply committed team to positively impact the devastating past and present experience of Black birth and parenting in the U.S.
Firstly, the Cleo team extends its deepest commitment to bearing witness to the systematic violence and oppression experienced by our Black teammates, friends, colleagues, partners, and members. Black lives matter. While this commitment should have been explicitly made long ago as we founded our company, we plan to now actively engage in the process of dismantling racism, starting with ourselves as parents, leaders, birth and parent advocates and as colleagues.
Cleo started with the vision of ensuring that anyone can grow their careers and their families, on their own terms. Unfortunately, this has not been the experience of most Black birthing people in this country, nor by their partners and communities.
- Historically, enslaved Black women were exploited to advance our understanding of human reproduction and develop medical procedures we continue to use today.
- Figures from the CDC's Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System indicate that from 2007 to 2016, black mothers died at a rate of 3.2 times that of white mothers.
These rates are similar to less resourced parts of the world at the same hospitals where white birthing people receive high quality care due to institutionalized racism in healthcare.
- Black families have been ripped apart by unjust policies promoting mass incarceration, leaving multiple generations of Black children without fathers.
- Black parents have faced legally authorized discrimination in where they are permitted to create a home and which schools they may send their children to.
These and countless other violent actions and policies have deliberately reinforced class privilege and the oppression of Black people in our country for centuries.Enabling a more inclusive society is core to Cleo’s mission, and thus we must make it part of our work to address the racial inequality that shows up at the many intersections of family, health and work.
Cleo is committed to active engagement with anti-racism work, and you can expect us to further our work in support of all of our members with a lens of racial equity from how we support our members to becoming more vocal and active in driving awareness of these issues. We have a lot of work to do internally, as well. Today, our leadership team does not have one Black team member and we are not proud of that. We’re actively pushing forward here and today this push means:
- creating the spaces within our own company to have a dialogue about racism,
- training our managers and guides to recognize their own biases in how we hire, collaborate and assist our members,
- evolving our hiring processes to ensure more inclusive hiring of Black leaders and colleagues,
- addressing recruiting and pay equity, and
- promoting Black individuals through all ranks of our organization including our Board of Directors.
Humbly, these are all gaps for us today that we are creating tangible plans to address - we may be a small company, but we know we can do so much more. We ask that you as our customer community hold us accountable to this end.
Finally, we dream of a future where Black families are honored, celebrated, and truly supported in the workplace and beyond. We hope to partner with you on how to design the Cleo experience in a way that pays special attention to the structural discrimination faced by your Black employees, and extends anti-racism education to all families. We see this as our contribution to transforming the next generation to doing better.
For those of you who are interested in learning more, we invite you to learn and act with us. We’re sharing our team’s growing set of resources - articles, videos, trainings, here - and will update this document continuously. You can also expect our community of parents will receive assistance and resources on these topics in the coming days and weeks.
Thank you for being part of our community. We welcome your feedback.
The Cleo Leadership team