Taking a Stance Against Racism and Inequality

Taking a Stance against Racism and Inequality

At Cognella, our team operates according to the idea of “Brains + Heart.” This means we combine equal parts intellect and compassion to act with professionalism, deep empathy, and a commitment to quality. For our team, “Brains + Heart” simply translates to “Do the right thing.”

Taking a public stance against racism is the right thing to do. George Floyd, and countless others, are victims of racial inequality and are now tragically voiceless. We all must be that voice.

In solidarity with the Black community, we are using our privilege to raise our voices for those who would be silenced. We are speaking up for the millions of Americans and individuals around the world who are affected by racism and inequality every day. We are lifting our voices to call for equity, social justice, and an end to systemic oppression.

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

Now is the time to act with truth, love, compassion, bravery, and unity.

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Bassim Hamadeh
Founder and CEO

Taking Action

September 8, 2020 – 2pm PDT

Since announcing our plans in June to support the Black community, we’ve been collaborating internally to set a number of initiatives in motion. Today, I’m excited to share an update, as well as a very personal and powerful art project we’ve been working on.

Update: Donations to Organizations in Support of the Black Community

In June, I initiated a challenge wherein I promised to match Cognella teammates’ donations to nonprofits in support of Black causes, including Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, and many others. I’m proud to announce that during the month of June, our team donated a total of approximately $3,500 to the following nonprofits:

  • Black Lives Matter Global Network
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • NAACP
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • North County African Women’s Association
  • Okra Project
  • Social Justice Learning Institute
  • The Blue Heart Foundation
  • Black Girls Run
  • Black Visions Collective
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative
  • Campaign Zero
  • Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce
  • GLIT
  • National Bail Out – Free Black Mamas
  • The Loveland Foundation
  • Trenton Area Soup Kitchen
  • United Negro College Fund

Black Lives Matter Art Project

During our internal conversations at Cognella regarding systemic racism, racial inequality, and police brutality, one thing became very clear. Cognella team members wanted a dedicated space where they could make personal statements in support of the Black community, as well as the authors of color with whom we regularly collaborate.

We invited Cognella team members to submit statements about how they intend to support the Black community and our authors, personally or professionally. Senior Graphic Designer Emely Villavicencio paired these statements with photographs she took at #BlackLivesMatter protests and events in San Diego, fashioning them into a powerful, interactive art piece.

To view the interactive art piece, please visit: https://cognella.com/cognella-statement-against-racism/blm-art-project/

For the best viewing results, we recommend visiting this webpage on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

June 15, 2020 – Noon PDT

It’s been both an emotional and energizing couple of weeks at Cognella. We are all angry about the senseless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. Police brutality and systemic racism, both conscious and unconscious, are major problems.

Black lives matter. Black stories matter. Black voices matter. While it has always been important for us at Cognella to give a voice to underrepresented authors—whether they write about social justice, race, ethnic and gender studies, discrimination, other overlooked and marginalized issues, or within any academic discipline—we can do better.

After releasing our public statement, we’ve engaged in a number of conversations to determine new ways we can support the Black community and, in some cases, how we can adjust our own practices, both as a company and as individuals, to become even better allies and continue to champion positive, long-term change.

Here are the immediate steps we are taking to support the Black community and this watershed moment in our shared history:

1. As the founder and CEO of Cognella, I have initiated a challenge where I will match, with personal funds, Cognella teammates’ donations to nonprofits in support of Black causes, including Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, and many others.

2. We’ve reinstated our volunteer program that was temporarily on hold during COVID-19, and we encourage all Cognella team members to use up to 16 hours of paid work time to safely volunteer (remotely or in person) for causes and initiatives that support the Black community.

3. We are in the process of assembling a collection of Cognella titles to spotlight our remarkable Black authors as well as other titles that support social justice. We also pledge to continue our commitment to provide Black authors and other underrepresented voices a platform so they can share their expertise and experiences within the academic community.

4. We pledge to further support our community of professors and students in the education of race, ethnicity, discrimination, and inclusivity, including developing resources for our authors to consider in their writing and investing in additional Cognella Digital Library collections for professors to use in their teaching.

5. We commit to recruiting and attracting new talent from Black communities.

Finally, I’d like to share that this is one of many public updates from Cognella. We are committed to ongoing conversations about the ways in which we can do even more. We will provide additional updates as our plans and initiatives come to fruition.

The fight for equity is a marathon, not a sprint. We will continue to do our part to promote justice and change, today and every day.

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Bassim Hamadeh
Founder and CEO