Our Commitment to Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion
In early June of 2020, Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy wrote a call to action to our front office and our fans outlining the organizations commitment to racial justice. The note stated that we stand with those who are working to achieve racial equity, recognized that we have work to do ourselves, and spoke of our obligation to amplify the voices of those who share our values, but may not share our platform.
Since that memo, we have collected and communicated resources, celebrated holidays that were admittedly new to many of us, disclosed the number of incidents at Fenway Park involving racial slurs, and supported the efforts of our players and coaches in the important work that they are doing in this space. To further underscore our commitment to this effort throughout the baseball season, we affixed the words Black Lives Matter on the Bleacher seats at Fenway Park and to our billboard on Lansdowne Street that faces the Mass Pike. The billboard on the Mass Pike has suffered vandalism, but we are working to better secure the area beneath it before reaffixing the board later this month.
We fully realize that these public-facing declarations, while important, are symbolic. That is why we feel it’s necessary to continue to share with our fans and our community the discussions and work that have been taking place behind the scenes.
Early on, we determined that the most effective way for our club to bring about change was by focusing our efforts internally, within our own organization. While we continue to use Red Sox public platforms to promote racial and social justice causes that align with our core values, the bulk of our work is focused on ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our ballpark, front office, and with our field staff.
- We created a Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Committee comprised of 11 members from various areas of the organization charged with overseeing this work to ensure it continues to be a top priority for our club.
- In late June, we partnered with an organization with expertise in racial equity and restorative justice who work with many companies in the Boston area to help dismantle systemic racism. We recognized that to do this right, we would need the support of a partner to help us navigate the difficult conversations and personal examination that needs to take place. We also knew they would be integral in developing the strongest, most impactful plan for our internal improvement.
- There was interest from many employees to engage in this work, so we organized the 100-plus volunteers into smaller focus groups to get their feedback. Their involvement and the insights they shared were critical in ensuring we create a plan that considers the views and feedback of many, not just a select few.
- In addition to engaging all employees, many of our Black and employees of color felt strongly that they needed space and opportunity to gather in solidarity and share their experiences. These meetings happened in early July, and we have taken the feedback they’ve shared and turned it into the basis for an internal action plan.
- In an area that has traditionally lacked diversity, our scouting operation, we have created new, entry-level Associate Development Scout positions to have a more diverse pipeline of talent in this department.
- The club also made an historic hire in Bianca Smith who is the first Black woman to be a minor league coach. Representation matters, and we hope Bianca’s aspiration to one day become a Major League manager will keep her in the game for years to come and serve as a point of inspiration leader for others who follow in her shoes.
Internal Action Plan:
When feedback from employees was collected and digested, we formulated a comprehensive action plan to tackle areas flagged by employees that would make our organization more equitable. Our action plan includes the creation of new systems as well as a need for auditing existing programs and practices.
We have formed subcommittees comprised of our employee volunteers to execute our action plan. Included on each of these subcommittees is a member of the Red Sox executive team to ensure engagement and accountability at the highest levels of the organization. Our subcommittees will begin their work this winter, focused on the following areas:
- Launching Employee Resource Groups and Race-based roundtables
- Creating support systems for employees who are the victims of racial or hate speech incidents
- Conducting a bias audit on our HR policies and practices.
- Enhanced education and training for employees, players, and coaching staff related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Mentorship programs for employees of color and other underrepresented groups.
- Enhancing ballpark messaging related to racial and social justice causes.
- Integrating more people of color into existing in-game activations
- Expanding opportunities to work with minority businesses.
- Exploring opportunities for public policy advocacy.
- Further expanding our marketing efforts into more diverse communities.
We know we have a long way to go, and fully understand that this work is never done. As an organization, we are committed to putting in the necessary time and effort. As we do that, we will continue to use our platforms to champion people, causes, and organizations who are spreading truth and advocating for equality.