This is a difficult time for the world and it certainly has been a painful week for our country. Amid the backdrop of devastation of COVID-19, we have watched and listened with sadness, anger, and shock at the senseless killing of George Floyd as he begged for breath and, ultimately, his life at the hands of police officers. Unfortunately, his story is not an unfamiliar one. In March, Breonna Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was shot in her home after officers entered without warning in the middle of the night. In February, Ahmaud Arbery, a former high school football star, was murdered while jogging.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery did not know each other. They were Americans going about their lives in very normal ways. But they had two things in common. They were all Black Americans victimized because of their race. And, accountability for their deaths only began after outraged Americans spoke out and took action. Incidents of violence and inhumanity against blacks in this country must stop. We will not simply stand by and stay silent.
General Catalyst does not tolerate racism. Our mission — to invest in powerful, positive change that endures — begins with all of us as individuals, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We are an organization comprised of human beings first and foremost. We care for each other as people first — our fellow colleagues, the entrepreneurs we back, our own investors, our extended families, and our communities. We understand and embrace our responsibility to create a sense of belonging for all races, genders, and backgrounds across our industry, and that we can’t truly move forward and innovate without altering the fabric of venture and tech today. While we have a long way to go, we remain steadfast in our commitment to make progress, and in the weeks and months to come it will be important for us to engage our companies, investors, and community to work together to address these issues industry-wide in a more comprehensive way.
This is a very important time for our nation. We operate under the belief that there are more people in the world who strive to do the right thing than not. It is our responsibility as individuals and as a firm to rededicate ourselves to creating a world that will not tolerate or accept injustice against any member of our society. Each of us has a role to play in creating positive change. The ability to use our voice and take action — collectively and individually — is a responsibility and a privilege. We must not stay silent. We remain in solidarity today and everyday to fight racism and injustice. Black lives matter.
-Ken Chenault, Joel Cutler, David Fialkow, Bill Fitzgerald, Hemant Taneja, and Team GC