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Dear <<First Name>>,

Fourteen years ago today (June 1st), my co-founder Sei-Wook and I incorporated Barrel and began our little business. It's been a rewarding journey and I'm so grateful for everything.

Following news of the police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd and the protests across the country, I couldn't help but feel the privilege I've had in my life and the relative ease with which we've built Barrel. I'm not white, but I'm also well aware that whatever indignities I might've experienced in my life as an Asian American pales in comparison to the real dangers and disadvantages of being Black in America.

Racism is systemic and it's deeply embedded in how America works. It'll take serious, sustained effort by many Americans to make lasting change happen.

I've thought about the part I can personally play in all this, especially as a business owner with 30 full-time employees.

I can give money to organizations, like Equal Justice Initiative, that work to change the narrative about race in America and fight white supremacy and racial violence.

I can engage with, vote, and donate to politicians who're committed to racial and socio-economic equality, not only at the national level but in local politics as well.

I can make Black Lives Matter and racial injustice topics that we openly bring up at Barrel and not shy away from it, creating a safe space for productive dialogue and understanding.

I can continue to recommend books like Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson or Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates to anyone who'll listen. I can also further my understanding of racial injustice in America by continuing to pick up books on the topic.

I can hire and provide leadership opportunities to Black candidates at Barrel, with the full acknowledgement that we've not been great at hiring for diversity.

I've learned a lot and experimented with a lot in the 14 years of running Barrel. Looking ahead, my hope is that I can use the business for purposes beyond making money and keeping clients happy.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Peter

About me: Peter Kang is co-founder of Barrel, a digital agency in New York City. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, son, and dog.
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