General Assembly and the Adecco Group are excited to announce a partnership with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s Athlete Career and Education (ACE) program. We are sponsoring 10 part-time, full scholarships for current and retired Team USA members. Athletes will work with us to choose a part-time course — free of charge — that best meets their career goals, gaining in-demand skills like data analytics, digital marketing, software engineering, and more sustainable career paths.
The ACE program, with the support of donors and organizations like the Adecco Group and DeVry University, serves and empowers active and retired Team USA athletes in their pursuit of personal, educational, and professional success.
As the first students get their feet wet in the first few weeks of classes, we’ll be sharing their athlete-to-student journeys on our pages for inspiration — we are confident you will want to get to know them better!
Introducing Alina Urs
Alina Urs is a professional athlete and fitness coach currently residing in Los Angeles, California. Originally from Romania, she was on the Romanian national kayak team and won over 70+ national and international medals. She also represented Team USA at world championships and the Pan American Games. She began training clients professionally in Europe and continued training clients when she moved to New York City, where she worked at Equinox for 10 years as both a top-performing coach and fitness manager.
Alina holds a bachelor’s degree in sports/physical education and psychology. She is also a certified health coach and medical exercise specialist with a focus on immune system health.
We are excited to launch The 2030 Movement — a week-long festival of free workshops and panel events focused on coding, data, design, marketing, and career development — in effort to build a better world through tech by 2030.
Whether you’re looking to dive deeper into data, code your way into a new career, or simply make meaningful professional connections, our robust lineup of workshops and panel events offers something for everyone . Discover what’s coming up!
Monday, September 14: Career-Proof Skills of 2030
Hear from thought leaders and industry experts about how you can stay in demand in your career — no matter what 2030 throws at you.
Today marks an important new chapter in the General Assembly story. We’ve had a lot of these big milestones since we started as a team of four almost ten years ago. In that time, we raised five rounds of venture capital, expanded to nearly forty markets in seven countries, launched hundreds of new programs and courses, worked with over 400 companies on large-scale digital transformation initiatives, and were acquired by the largest human capital solutions company in the world.
All of these chapters had a few common threads. Our mission, our vision, our approach to the world — and, me as CEO. So this new chapter is going to be different, which will involve me stepping away from my role as CEO of General Assembly after ten amazing years.
As with any big change, I feel some uncertainty and a level of trepidation (a feeling I know that our students experience every single day as they gain new skills and transform their careers). But I’m also really, really happy, because we’ve found a really dynamic and talented executive to step into the CEO role. Over the past six months, we’ve run a robust and intensive search, with a lot of deliberation and consideration of many talented and qualified candidates.
So: I am excited to announce Lisa Lewin as our new Chief Executive Officer, starting August 17. I have absolute confidence that Lisa is the leader who will ensure that General Assembly reaches its ambitious growth goals, while also contributing to the culture that will ensure its continued success. I am also looking forward to being a part of this process — I’ve told Lisa I’m here for whatever support she wants or needs (while of course not getting in the way.)
At the start of GA, I was just coming out of the painful anxious experience of graduating college into a recession, feeling lost and lonely in the world of work. Being able to translate that experience into an ever expanding pathway for others in the same predicament has been incredibly meaningful to me personally. But to be able to build this among a brilliant cast of thousands — team members, students, alumni, partners, investors — has been the greatest honor of my working life. I cannot think of a better steward for the next phase of this company’s development than Lisa Lewin, and I cannot wait to see what comes next for General Assembly.
To learn more about General Assembly’s new CEO, Lisa Lewin, read our press release here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rapid and forced transformation of many businesses. Plans that companies previously anticipated rolling out over many years have been decided and implemented in weeks.
Amid this rapid change where many are scrambling to adapt, leaders should ask themselves what other “five-year plans” should fastrack to keep pace with these critical business plans. One of the plans that companies should evaluate is talent development: how can businesses develop strategic plans to meet the needs of their rapidly evolving businesses?
Creating talent development work isn’t as easy as providing online learning to employees. Our Marketing Standards board members met recently and uncovered an unexpected commonality. While all of them are making learning available to their employees, the primary area for improvement on their employee engagement surveys continues to be upskilling. This revelation brought on a layered conversation about the common challenges employers face when it comes to engaging employees in training and development — especially when these pieces of training are online. So, what’s causing the disconnect between desire and action on upskilling employees, and most importantly, what can leaders do about it?
Understanding the Disconnect
Upskilling is urgent for employers — especially for newer professionals who aren’t going to be satisfied in their jobs if there are no learning (or advancement) opportunities. Employees don’t merely want a job; they want to work for companies they can learn from and grow within; employees wish to build careers.
In a Deloitte survey, 90% of employees said their organizations were redesigning jobs. The World Economic Forum reported that more than half of all its employees would require reskilling or upskilling to address the digital skills gaps driven by changing job requirements over the next three years.
For many reasons like these, our board members agree that it’s an employer’s responsibility to make learning available and an integrated part of the employee experience.
So, what’s getting in the way of learning — from the employee perspective?
Two big factors are time and incentive. Many employees feel like there’s not enough time during the workday to take the training accessible to them. Others don’t prioritize upskilling because although they want new and updated skills, there is no extrinsic motivator for learning them. One of the clearest opportunities for extrinsic motivation often isn’t clearly connected to training: it’s the idea that training and skills are requisite expectations for the job or performance. The right jobs motivate all of us.
Providing employees with upskilling opportunities signals to them that they are valued and that they have a future within their workplace organization. However, offering a training program isn’t enough — the implementation of these programs must be intentional, structured, and relevant. During our conversation, board members came up with tips that can help companies foster a learning-positive workplace. These tips include:
1. Partner With Leadership to Allocate Time During the Workday
Big roadblocks employees face: blocking time to make learning important and creating company-wide time blocks, like “No Meetings Fridays,” to provide designated time for employee upskilling. Making these time blocks company-wide is critical. If some teams aren’t participating in it, they’ll throw a meeting on the calendar that conflicts with the learning time. At that point, you’ve lost the consistent open time and original initiative purpose you’re trying to create for your team.
2. Extrinsic Incentives: Compelling Rewards
Extrinsic incentives are tangible motivators that can encourage employees to take an upskilling training course. Offering incentives gives employees a clear prize at the end of their experience, plus an added incentive to complete learning by a particular due date. This specific incentive is a nice touch from board member Gretchen Saegh (CMO of L’Oréal USA), who plans on rewarding “the best re-scorer” of the CM1 assessment with being “CMO for the day.” These empowering incentives give employees a sense of purpose, a structured career path, and long-term vision, giving them valuable real-world experiences and advice that can be difficult to get elsewhere.
Extrinsic Incentives: Executive Messaging on Expectations
When employees see their managers endorsing upskilling, and also see the executive team pushing for the same thing, it speaks volumes about the value of upskilling within that organization and the expectations around completing tasks and initiatives surrounding it. The bottom line is that upskilling gains immediate credibility when employees see it supported by leadership. A message from the CEO and executive team is imperative when it comes to setting the tone for a company, as a message from “the top” can have a ripple effect throughout the organization.
Getting employees to translate the desire-to-action key values of online learning is particularly pertinent as more employers look for efficient and effective ways to train their employees remotely via online training providers. It’s a new world, and there’s no magic bullet, hidden secrets, and there are certainly no shortcuts. The right online training is thoughtful and methodical: it considers human behavior, personal motivations, and leadership alignment + support to get online training to occur and resonate for employees — from entry-level positions to the C-suite.
Finally, there’s the process of trial and error. Although initiatives often start with the strongest and best of intentions, the most successful training results adapt and fluctuate over time. No plan is flawless right out of the gate — however well-planned or well-intended.
These are unprecedented times for the world and for New York City. Many things have changed, but our goal hasn’t: We’re committed to your success and here to provide guidance toward the right jobs for you.
Thank you for indicating interest in CUNY’s upskilling coursework in partnership with General Assembly, and congratulations on taking time to invest in yourself!
Register for the course by filling out
this Google Form. An email that invites you to join the course will be sent to you within 3-5 business days.
You can get started below:
GA’s online Data Analysis On Demand program is designed to get you started on the path towards becoming a stronger, analytical operator. Many industries require data skills, including product management, marketing, finance, and operations across job titles such as data analyst, business intelligence, data scientist, data engineer, and data architect. Data jobs have doubled since 2012, and salary ranges are $40–80K for data analysts and $60–120K for data scientists.
This program will familiarize you with the key systems that allow you to make sense of data for every type of industry or job and visually express the findings to your stakeholders. It provides a comprehensive foundation to equip you with the context, process, and tools to identify and communicate data-driven insights using Excel and SQL. Students will leave the course with a business case and analysis for a client; they will learn to extract data using SQL, clean and analyze in Excel, and create the visuals and argument for their conclusions.
Learn more about Data Analytics On Demand at General Assembly.
GA’s online Digital Marketing On Demand program is designed to help you learn and implement the most in-demand digital marketing practices of the 21st century. The ability to analyze the vast amounts of data generated by digital marketing activities, and translate that analysis into digital marketing strategies and tactics, will be among the most important skills for marketers in the next decade. Digital marketing jobs have more than doubled in the last five years alone, and the average starting salary for these positions is $76,000.
This program will teach you the foundational skills across five focus areas: customer insight, creative and content, marketing channels, analytics, and marketing technology. You’ll learn to apply core digital marketing skills like market research, search engine optimization, CRM, and automation, and launch multi-channel brand, acquisition, and retention campaigns. Whether you want to pursue a full-fledged marketing career or have a substantial grasp on marketing language and skills to support other work, this course will equip you with formal training and a portfolio to establish yourself as a competitive candidate.
Learn more about Digital Marketing On Demand at General Assembly.
“The most reliable way to predict the future is to create it.” — Abraham Lincoln
A New World
We began 2020, the new decade, in a way that none of us could have ever imagined. The COVID-19 pandemic quickly turned our world upside down, affecting millions. News of layoffs and a collective unease about the future permeates our every day. We are in an adjustment period — an opportunity to reflect, gain clarity, resolve, and find out just how strong and capable we are.
General Assembly was created in 2011, in the aftermath of the last recession, to help people pursue work they love and find inspiration in a strong community of entrepreneurs, technologists, creators, and innovators. We know so many of you are feeling uncertain, and we want you to know that we’re not going anywhere.An increasingly digital world demands digital-first skills — in greater numbers. The technology, marketing, design, and data skills we teach will be more resilient and relevant in a post-COVID-19 era.
Our 2018–2019 Outcomes Report: the Full Story
Today, we are excited to share our latest Outcomes Report; it was just reviewed by KPMG, a Big Four* accounting firm, which looks at the graduation and job placement rates for 4,287 students completing their programs over 18 months, between January 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019.
Here are some highlights from our recent report:
91.4% of graduates who participated in GA’s full-time Career Services program accepted a job offer in their field of study within 180 days of graduating.
An additional 8.3% accepted a job offer after 180 days, for a total of 99.7% of this eligible population working in their fields.
GA grads have gone on to work at top multi-industry companies including Amazon, Charles Schwab, Dell, Google, Home Depot, IBM, and more.
We have a diverse community of students, and our outcomes rates remain strong as we create pathways for people from a wider variety of professional backgrounds and life experiences.
We also know that the Outcomes Report only tells one part of the story: the first job that a graduate secures post-GA. To find out what happens over time, we surveyed our alumni base last year with the global polling firm Gallup and learned the following:
106%: Average percentage that Immersive graduates see their income increase within five years of graduation from General Assembly.
One year after the course, 84% of graduates were happier in their careers, and 74% were making more money.
Most students who come to General Assembly’s Immersive programs do so for one reason: to find a job in a new career. From the beginning, we established rigorous standards that ensure our graduates are meeting their career goals and getting a return on their education investment.
You won’t be doing it alone. As Matt Brems, our Lead Data Science Instructor, shares, “It’s important to note that this time isn’t spent alone! Your peers in the industry attend meetups. Your classmates work beside you and with you to hone skills. And your instructors are dedicated to supporting you as you put your best foot forward beyond General Assembly. You are joining a community, and we’re ready to welcome you into it.”
Our Unwavering Commitment
Griffin Moore (they/them), one of our Career Coaches in Washington DC, shares, “Career changes are tough. Imposter syndrome or fear of the unknown can overwhelm even the most seasoned tech professionals. As a career coach, I serve as a partner in accountability, strategy, and motivation. I work with students from day one of their Immersive to develop their personal brand and job-search tools, all the way until they sign their job offer.”
Going forward, we know the job market will look different for everyone — not just our graduates. Our commitment to our students remains the same. Teaching relevant skills, preparing people for their job searches, partnering with employers, and working with students to find the best possible outcomes — we’re continuing to adapt in real-time to respond to the most current events. Here’s how we’re changing our approach:
Free workshops. We’re making more content and curriculum free to ensure that people seeking jobs have more opportunities to gain new skills. Free Fridays offer our most popular workshops and events for free every Friday.
Remote training. We’ve trained all our career coaches in remote coaching and curriculum delivery and are updating our curriculum in real-time to make sure it reflects the current state of job seeking.
Deeper relationships. We’ve invested more deeply in our partnerships efforts, delivering weekly insights and engagements to our teams, conducting outreach to growing industries, and finding ways to support our hiring community during this time.
Reskilling partnerships. We’re training laid-off workers. We launched our first reskilling coalition in Louisville, KY, and we expect to announce many more in the coming months.
Strategy shifts. We’re helping our grads identify how to shift their job search processes at the moment. We’re advising them to watch industry trends, grow their community networks, build their skills, and shift expectations around weekly job search success — the application process may be slower, but we encourage an increase in online networking and expanded industry learning.
Increased resources. We are working with our loan partners to ease the financial burden of loan repayments, make more job search strategy sessions available to all graduates, and focus on building an online community to ensure job seekers have a more robust set of supports as they pursue professional opportunities. We’re also adding new mental health resources for students and grads through our partnership with Ginger.io.
Read the report. We’ve got personal accounts from our staff, along with hard facts and figures for you to digest — our report is the most holistic way to see what we are doing for you.
Talk to a member of our Admissions team. Clara Graham, Senior Admissions Producer, emphasizes that “It’s a time to get to know (a prospective student), to understand their readiness for our rigorous immersive courses.” If now is not the time, don’t worry — we have a lot of options for you.
Not sure you’re ready? Participate in a remote Free Fridays workshop to try us out! We recently created Free Fridays, 100% free weekly workshops that skill-build with our most popular topics.
*The Big Four accounting firms refer to Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), KPMG, and Ernst & Young. These firms are the four largest professional services firms in the world that provide audit and transaction advisory.
Black life and Black lives matter. Silence and idleness in the face of systemic oppression are complicity, and we are not complicit. General Assembly stands with those across the U.S. and around the world1 fighting against racism, police brutality, and the widespread, systemic violence against Black people that has taken place throughout our global history. We know that the lives we lost can never be replaced, and we stand with the anger and bravery of protestors and activists risking their lives in the pursuit of justice.
The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland, Rayshard Brooks, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Michelle Cusseaux, Dominique Fells, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tony McDade, Riah Milton, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor — and countless others whose many names we may never know — continue to shake us to our cores.
Over the past few weeks, we have taken important internal steps to accelerate the work we need to do as a company to truly create a diverse, inclusive, and equitable GA environment for our employees, students, clients, and alumni. We have a lot of work to do. Still, as a company, we are committed to educating ourselves, supporting racial justice organizations, and engaging in activism and the political process. We have also pushed ourselves to ask: “How can we take more responsibility as a GA community to build a just and equitable world?”
GA helps people find meaningful work by training them with digital, technological skills, but most importantly, we view our work and advocacy within a broader movement towards social justice. That said, we know that we are also a part of an education and workforce ecosystem that often perpetuates the systemic racism that exists in every facet of American — and global — societies.
This work begins at home. We commit to increasing the diversity of our leadership and executive teams and developing professional growth pathways for our Black staff. We are also making a company-wide commitment to hiring more Black talent, and to using our platform to educate employers and other training providers on building inclusive talent pipelines.
In the weeks and months to come, we will speak up and take action to elevate ideas, norms, and values that can dismantle white supremacy2 and move the needle towards justice. Below are three spaces that we believe GA can work within to drive change.
1. Increase access to high-quality education and training for Black students in underserved communities.
The U.S. education system is set up to offer nearly limitless opportunity to those in positions of privilege and far less to those without any. Our responsibility as an education provider is to create pathways to social and economic mobility for communities who have been historically locked out.
We need to be intentional and proactive about building partnerships with community organizations to support students from underserved communities and those who have been incarcerated. This will require further investment in financing alternatives that can reduce the cost of education, and shift the risk away from learners by holding providers accountable for ensuring successful job outcomes. GA must expand comprehensive support for students with wraparound services (such as childcare, transportation, and mental health) that help remove the roadblocks that often prevent people from pursuing or completing their education.
GA’s commitment: We will seek out employers to partner with on the expansion of our impactful Digital Academy and Managed Service Provider Partner Models to attract, nurture, and actively promote Black talent. We will donate our educational products to nonprofit organizations focused on fostering Black talent. We will deepen the support we offer students, such as emergency funds, case management, referrals, and tech equipment. We will formalize the work we are doing to leverage our students’ talents and alumni to support nonprofits and small businesses, focusing on racial justice organizations and Black-owned businesses.
2. Work with hiring partners to end biased hiring and enable new practices that get more Black talent into jobs.
For most people, getting a good job is the ultimate goal of their education and training experience. That makes it easy for employers to blame labor market inequality on the mythical “pipeline problem” and shift responsibility onto education providers, rather than making investments in existing talent or new pipelines of talent.
Employers must do better. To start, that means concrete actions such as removing college degree requirements from job postings and implementing skills-based hiring practices that recognize performance rather than pedigree. It includes practices like “Banning the Box” to open doors for formerly incarcerated job seekers, and eliminating unpaid internships that favor those with the means to support themselves to work without pay. Employers must recognize the incredible potential of their people already employed and create talent pivots and pathways for new roles and functions.
GA’s commitment: We will urge our hiring partners and clients to make public commitments to hiring Black talent and to make investments in upskilling or reskilling existing talent. We will direct Talent Acquisition, Career Coaches, and Local Campus Partnerships to use our voice and position to publicly call attention to biased hiring practices that disproportionately affect Black applicants. We will hold partners who want to hire our students accountable for making these changes.
3. Advocate for policies that boost access and affordability of high-quality education and training for Black people, and mobilize our community to participate in the political process.
From the U.S. Department of Education’s revocation of nondiscrimination guidelines to the outright provocations of violence from the President and his surrogates, it’s clear that we cannot rely on federal policymakers to make meaningful advancements when it comes to equity and racial justice.
Policies can be a lever for change in an election year — they’re more important than ever. We know there’s bipartisan support for ideas at the federal level such as job training tax credits or apprenticeships that can expand access to education. There’s momentum at the state and local level for ideas such as portable benefits that can better protect workers in a changing labor market. It’s also encouraging to see signs of collaboration and movement over the past weeks on urgent issues that aren’t directly related to education, like reinvesting police funding.
As 2020 candidates’ platforms evolve in the coming months, we all have an opportunity to raise our voices to advocate for federal, state, and local policies that can begin to chip away at America’s legacy of systemic racism. We can ensure that incoming elected officials make good on their responsibility to implement those necessary policies.
GA’s commitment: We will increase our efforts to advocate for legislation at the federal, state, and local levels to create pathways into high-skill, high-wage jobs for members of underserved communities. We will amplify amicus briefs in support of social justice issues, and take on external pro bono legal work. We will continue to push for a new social contract to strengthen the social safety net. We will educate our community on ways toget more involved in the political process while boosting voter registration deadlines, and local and federal election dates. We will close our U.S. offices on November 3, 2020, to allow our entire community to vote.
We take our commitments seriously, and understand that sincere and meaningful allyship is an ongoing journey. The truth is, we have many things to learn, so we will continue educating ourselves, speaking up, and embracing challenges to continue our growth process. We also appreciate ideas we may not have thought of that can help us create a more just and equitable world.
1General Assembly is a global education company with campuses in seven countries. We know that the current measures to dismantle systemic racism in the United States are not the same measures to address injustices in other parts of the world. The above statement focuses on the language, context, and our actions in the United States, and we look forward to sharing additional commitments across our other locations that are aligned with their regional political, social, and cultural realities.
“As long as gay people don’t have their rights all across America, there’s no reason for celebration.”
— Marsha P. Johnson, gay liberation activist and central figure in the Stonewall riots
With its iconic marches and vibrant colors, Pride is both a time of celebration, as well as a recognition of the Stonewall Rebellion’s anniversary, which birthed the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. Today — a world of unrest that echoes the very Stonewall riots that gave us the Pride we know — is the time to focus on the spirit of that uprising and save the celebrations for another day.
Marsha P. Johnson, the Black trans woman who catalyzed the Stonewall Rebellion, said it best: “As long as gay people don’t have their rights all across America, there’s no reason for celebration.” As protests across the nation respond to systemic police brutality against the Black community, there is a bright, necessary light on violence against People of Color — including LGBTQ+ People of Color, who experience these injustices differently.
Today, in the United States:
Data shows that Black people who identify as LGBTQ+ have the highest rates of unemployment, lack of insurance coverage, food insecurity, and income below the poverty level than both non-Black LGBTQ+ people and non-LGBTQ+ Black people.
Young LGBT People of Color are at higher risk of homelessness. An estimated 20–40% of homeless youth in the U.S. identify as LGBT or believe they may be LGBTQ+. One study found that among homeless youth who identify as gay or lesbian, 44% identified as Black and 26% as Latino.
Black transgender women are disproportionately victims of harassment and violence; last year, there were 26 reported deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the United States caused by acts of violence. Black trans women accounted for the majority of these losses.
The path forward is paved with solidarity. We hope these injustices are rectified soon so that all of us can celebrate and heal — not just a privileged few. In the meantime, we’re here to support you with resources and workshops focused on LGBTQ+ topics. For more information on how you can stand with People of Color, read our post, Why We Should All Be Angry, by our very own Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, James Page.
General Assembly (GA) is a community committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We aim to provide a welcoming environment for everyone at GA: students, staff, instructors, clients, and anyone who walks through our doors, physical or virtual. No matter what, we strive to uphold our work value to “Keep Getting Better” in our diversity journey.
In the United States, where many in our community are located, there is a long history of violence and harassment against People of Color. Now that many people carry cameras with them and have instant access to social media, these acts of violence and harassment are more likely to be swiftly and readily exposed. In recent weeks, we have experienced a shared sense of grief and horror over the untimely deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the harassment of Christian Cooper.
We stand with Black and Brown People and are fully committed to creating physically and emotionally safe spaces for our entire GA community. Black lives matter. We do not tolerate racism or racial harassment of any kind — and we never will. In that spirit, we share this reflection by James Page, General Assembly’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
As a Black man in America, I’ve been aware since my teen years that others’ fears are closely linked to my skin color. While I found some humor when a White woman would clutch her purse as I walked by, there was also significant frustration. I was a nerdy Catholic school kid who liked to crack a joke. However, my identity as a Black man was perceived as dangerous and threatening in a way that superseded anything else about me.
In 2016, I took a trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture with my 13-year-old son. I will never forget the Emmett Till exhibit, where an open casket holds a photo of Emmett’s beaten and deformed face. I was frozen. I held my son’s hand, and without any real awareness, tears began to roll down my face.
My son asked me what was wrong. I explained that Emmett was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was visiting family in Mississippi in 1955. A White woman accused him of whistling at her, and he was brutally beaten and murdered by two White men. The killers were found not guilty, even though they admitted to killing him one year later. They were confident that the American legal system would protect them. Sixty-two years later, Emmett’s accuser admitted she lied — he never whistled at her. Her false accusation was enough to end that young man’s life with no recourse to his accuser or his murderers.
Fair-minded people can agree that taking another human life is wrong, and share the sense of outrage at the senseless, recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. However, the story of Emmett Till and its connection to the story of Amy Cooper speaks to a much deeper pattern of racism, exploitation, and injustice that is pervasive and prevalent in our society.
Why am I angry at the justice system and our police force? Why am I angry at Amy Cooper? Why should we all be angry? Because she shared the same sense of privilege and entitlement as Emmett’s accuser when she called the police on Christian Cooper. She knew that if she called 911 and expressed fear as a White woman threatened by a Black man, she would be believed, and a Black man would be punished, regardless of what actually happened. She weaponized her racial advantage and it could have been lethal to Christian Cooper: just as it was when Carolyn Bryant lied about Emmett Till, when Eleanor Strubing accused Joseph Spell of rape, and when Tom Robinson was accused of raping Mayella Ewell in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Black men have been conditioned to fear the police, the U.S. justice system, and White women. It is well known that when the cops, or “the posse” show up, the Black man — a 14-year-old Black boy visiting family, a Black man in a consensual relationship with a White woman, a Black character in one of the greatest novels of all time, or a Black Harvard grad birdwatching in a park — can be arrested, beaten, jailed, abused, and subjected to extreme acts of violence. His Black body can be deemed disposable, be made an example of, and deemed unimportant, a piece of property for the public; another piece of “strange fruit – blood on the leaves, blood at the root.”
While fear is closely linked to my identity, passed on from generation to generation, it is a fear that I must submit to — unbelievable in 2020. I must learn and follow the unspoken rules. I must fear the police, the justice system, bank lenders, the President of the United States, and the White woman clutching her purse — innocuous people or protectors under any other circumstance. As Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote, “It is not necessary that you believe that the officer who choked Eric Garner set out that day to destroy a body. All you need to understand is that the officer carries with him the power of the American state and the weight of an American legacy, and they necessitate that of the bodies destroyed every year, some wild and disproportionate number of them will be Black.”
The only way to end this ongoing cycle is to educate ourselves, show up for People of Color, and get involved in the political process. This is not a new moment in our nation’s history, but part of the ongoing suffering, injustice, and inhumane treatment of minorities; these acts of aggression, violence, and unequal rights we are experiencing right now create real trauma for communities of color who have to live every day in fear. All of us have a role to play in dismantling institutional racism in this country; all of us must help address — and heal — that trauma. Now is the time to stand together and say, “No. More.”
If you are looking for ways to show up as an ally in this time, here are some places to get started — we share a handful of resources and it is by no means exhaustive:
Spend time reading and learning. Read the work of James Baldwin, Ta-Nahesi Coates, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Richard Wright, and Malcolm X. More recent books like How to be Antiracist, White Fragility, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, and White Rage provide contemporary insight on how to show up for communities of color. Purchase them from your local bookstore, and check out more resources here. They are truly eye-opening.
Support organizations that are moving the needle on racial justice. Color of Change, Campaign Zero, the Anti-Racism Project, the NAACP, UnidosUS, and the ACLU are but a handful of the organizations working nationally and locally for social justice issues facing communities of color. Sign up for their mailing lists, donate, respond to their calls to action, and find other ways to get involved.
Stand up for People of Color.When you see wrong, stand up for what is right. Call out racist actions — explicit or implicit — when you see them. When justice is compromised, protest, and challenge it until it creates change. You can learn more about how to be an ally here and here.
Get involved in the political process. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, demand accountability from your elected officials and advocate and support candidates who share your values. Most importantly, vote (register here) – and encourage others in your community to do the same.
At General Assembly, we will never compromise on ensuring that everyone within our community gets treated with dignity and respect. In the spirit of our shared commitment to learning, we urge all of you to engage on these issues with curiosity, humility, empathy, and self-awareness in service of active dialogue, brave allyship, and the human goodness that can be brought out by all of us.
Over the years, GA’s career coaches have helped thousands of students from our full-time immersive programs land jobs with our A-list hiring partners. Now, with a transformed hiring climate, many career changers are faced with more uncertainty than ever about the likelihood of getting a new role, let alone navigating a job search remotely.
The good news is that there are reasons to be hopeful. In this recorded session, get expert advice from GA’s U.S. career coaches on how job searching has been transformed by COVID-19. Whether you’re on an active job search or curious about what the U.S. job market is like right now, you’ll gain valuable insight about how job seeking has changed and how you can stand out amongst the competition—regardless of your work experience.