Last month Cogo Labs hosted "Blackness In America" a virtual event to share experiences, as well as the work of anti-racist ally-ship. We hosted an incredible panel of six speakers moderated by Cogo Labs Analyst, Victoria Plummer.

As we reflect on the conversations that took place that day, we want to share some of the perspectives, ideas, and statements made by both our panelist and our moderator.

Torrence Moore, Senior Director, LISC

Torrence Moore is an entrepreneur and finance professional with 30 years of experience consisting of private equity, consulting, alternative investing, commercial banking, and economic and community development at several multinational institutions.

During the Blackness In America event, Torrence talked about how;

"I think its incumbent upon all Americans when they see something to say something. When we talk about injustices and inequalities that we’re seeing, I don’t think until all of us speak out we will really see change. Louisville, KY is removing voting booths and polling places to suppress the Black vote. We should all be protesting what they’re doing because it’s clear what’s going on and what they’re doing there. It’s really a metaphor for what’s happened to George Floyd and so many others."

He emphasized that it's not just the work of Black folks or people of color, he said "until our allies speak up and say something, change won’t be easy."

"The recent acts of police brutality and microaggressions against Black people have ripped off the bandage of America’s secret that racism, institutional racism, and systematic racism all do exist. I think now is an opportunity to address this head on." - Torrence Moore

Torrence closed by discussing the solutions to make progress on racial injustice in America in the future;

"I think this protest is coming up with solutions and we can only make progress if we come to the table with an open mind and a willingness to be uncomfortable and let the facts and statistics guide and recognize that no one of us has the answer and we can come together to address this systematic problem that we’re facing now.

"In a similar vein of talking about opportunities and the necessity for allies to speak out and be engaged with what's happening in both the United States and the world, Bindu Kalesan echoed similar ideas."

Bindu Kalesan, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Boston University

Bindu discussed the urgency and importance for not only the Indian and South Asian community, but for everyone to stand up and be allies for their Black colleagues now.

“When I look at the situation away from the pain and violence, ambitious goals need to be set. It’s okay to do that. Being able to play the long game, get yourself a spot at the table and lift others up [is a great way to do that]. It’s important that we all have allies and I personally want to be an ally. I hope more Indians and south asians will come forward and be allies [for the Black community].”

Val Mosley also spoke on the topic of allyship and how we can begin to invest both financially and emotionally for Black colleagues in the workplace.

Valerie is an experienced businesswoman, investor, and board member. For decades, she has managed debt securities of large, liquid public companies and invested in equity of small, illiquid, private companies. Valerie’s breath of leadership, portfolio management and risks assessment skills allow her to help firms and funds maximize performance returns while minimizing risks.

Val Mosley, CEO Valmo Venturs & Former Partner, Wellington Management

Val dove into the topic of how corporations can be intentional about how they invest in employees and the Black community.

"Most corporations can be very intentional in where their dollars go. If you’re investing in folks of color and they have businesses, they’re more likely to hire more people of color. Education is hugely important because it’s been so systematically underfunded, particularly the public school systems. Putting philanthropic dollars there is so important."

"Allies can advocate for people that are not there. It’s not enough to be silent, you want to be intentional and speak up when someone isn’t being appropriate. When you have that compassion for other people you’re more willing to stand up and say ‘no this just doesn’t make sense." -Val Mosley

Val is part of an organization called New Profit, which creates change through; setting up a fund for formally incarcerated prisoners (Unlocked Future). She is also working on a project to help underserved markets grow their net worth. She believes creating more economic opportunities is something we can do more of right now.

Val's biggest tangible advice moving forward is that "if you’re in the room, speak up, make sure that the recruiting process and pool is divers, and opening hearts and building bridges is important [in this work]."

Cogo Labs is grateful to not only hold spaces for these conversations, but to amplify the voices in the Black community and for Black Allies. We're excited to hold a space and open up the conversation for a variety of topics in the future!