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Why Does E=MC2 In This Moment?

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June 2, 2020

Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity has particular relevance today.

E= MC2

When I think about the national outcry for justice in support of black lives and other marginalized populations, I see this formula as a guidepost. If I were to re-write Einstein’s definition for energy = mass x speed of light, I would instead state:

The Energy of Change is a function of Collective Action combined with the Virality of a United Movement.

We believe that the privilege of innovation is to use it as a tool of systemic change. This arsenal works only when it is accessible, inclusive, and equitably distributed. Similarly, entrepreneurship is a mechanism that can either advance the economics of inequality or disrupt cyclical poverty through upward mobility.  

We have a fundamental choice in how we wield both.

If we believe that, at is core, innovation is a process designed to improve the human condition, then we can neither ignore, nor fail to recognize that racial and ethic justice— particularly for black lives, as is most evident in this moment– is central to what we do and who we are.  At least it is for Venture Café Miami.

Indeed, our innovation ecosystems are not immune from systemic racism.  Nor have they evolved beyond its covert manifestations such as implicit bias, stereotype threat or discrimination.

Why?

Because racial indifference is endemic to our culture and society.

Smart phones, social media, digital identification, predictive algorithms, and cloud computing have all demonstrated that innovative technologies have the power to change how we think, act, feel and behave towards each other.   When deployed intentionally, we can leverage innovation to shift our cultural context.

Internally, our team (like most) is taking a moment to check our privilege, evaluate where we unintentionally advanced or remained complicit in systems of oppression, and perhaps most importantly, assess how we can most impactfully activate community platforms for meaningful change.

To that end, we have initially identified four areas of opportunity to convene and help align others who play a role in the innovation ecosystem towards a renewed focus and priority on racial equity:

Empathize: How might we create spaces of radical transparency that help us individually see from the other side — without expectation, judgment, retribution, shame or guilt?

Educate: How might we accelerate access to tools and technologies that create awareness of the lived experiences of and effective strategies for individual/collective action?

Empower: How might we uniquely and separately support those who are marginalized as well as those who desire to be action-oriented allies against systematic racism and oppression?

Experiment: How might we — without fear of failure — exercise intention in trying new approaches towards achieving racial and ethnic equity for entrepreneurs and justice within society as a whole?

We certainly don’t have all (or any) of the answers to these questions.  But, we know where to start.  Before we execute, we listen.  We learn.  And, we seek to understand from you — the community — who, we believe can help us find the solutions that yield change. 

So, please, let us know if you want to be engaged in this work.  Let us know how you can contribute.  Let us know what you need.  Drop us a note and we’ll be in touch with next steps.

Cheers,

Leigh-Ann / Venture Cafe Miami

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