A letter from our President Rob Soderbery
Uplift has always embraced different perspectives and diverse backgrounds on the team, as a way to make us better as a community and a company. And we believe we live up to that promise. But the tragic events that needlessly took the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many other Black Americans remind us that systemic racism is still deeply rooted in our society and we cannot afford to be quiet.
Our mission to make travel more accessible, affordable, and rewarding for everyone truly means all people. Being a travel company, and participating in the travel industry, we have always rooted our values around diversity and inclusion within that mission, and the spirit of travel. “We are all travelers” is a concept that suggests we approach life as we approach travel – open minded, exploring, welcoming of new experiences and perspectives.
As a company, we believe that meaningful reform is necessary to ensure social justice and racial equality for all people and we stand beside our Black employees, Black partners, and the Black community. We started by simply having a discussion as part of our company meeting. We wanted to acknowledge the hurt, anger and frustration many of us were feeling. What was born out of that conversation makes me prouder than ever to work for this company. Because of that meeting, a group of passionate Uplift team members came together, developed an action plan, galvanized support from other employees, and presented the leadership team with a recommendation on how Uplift should move forward to affect meaningful, lasting change.
Based on the initiative from those employees, below is an outline of the steps Uplift will take to move beyond words and take action.
- Juneteenth will be a permanent company holiday to celebrate this watershed moment in U.S. history and allow each of our employees to support the BLM movement in their own personal way.
- We are working with our employees to support causes individually and collectively, starting with the East Oakland Collective and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
- We will host a facilitator or speaker on a regular basis to lead discussions/activities about race and diversity.
- We are taking steps to educate everyone at Uplift on anti-racism and implicit bias. We will also encourage ongoing dialogue about race and diversity in both formal and informal settings.
- We are working to verify our credit policies and collection practices are fairly implemented and don’t have hidden biases.
- We will remind and encourage all employees to vote on Election Day and provide 2 hours of PTO for them to do so.