It's on us: How TPG is joining the fight for equality and justice
The Points Guy came to life 10 years ago as a community centered around a mutual love of travel. We firmly believe that travel builds connection and makes our world a smaller, better place.
However, TPG can no longer ignore the fact that our fellow Americans do not experience equal rights, whether in the world of travel or beyond. And this week in particular, we cannot deny the inequality that the Black community faces.
TPG renounces racism and discrimination in any form. That being said, we have made mistakes in the past, and we have a lot to learn.
Our team has committed to the work of unpacking white fragility, privilege and racism. We are re-evaluating our current hiring and recruiting processes to court more candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds. We will be more intentional about working with people and organizations who don't look like us, in order to learn from their perspectives.
We haven't always gotten it right, and we won't always get it right in future. But we commit to doing our best, being willing to make mistakes along the way and starting again when we fail. We are actively committed to the fight against racial injustice, and our organization commits to participating in the change the world desperately needs.
The Points Guy, as well as our parent company Red Ventures, believes in taking action to match our words. Here's how we have committed to justice and equality for Black lives.
Commitment means nothing without sustained action backing it. As a media company, we’ve established a partnership with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), starting with a $100,000 donation.
Countless studies show that the best companies, communities and entire nations represent a wide range of diverse voices. NABJ supports the Black journalists, media professionals, educators and students who contribute crucial viewpoints and perspectives in newsrooms across the nation. The organization also funds scholarships for Black students who are pursuing higher education in the field of journalism, as well as facilitating important mentoring and career guidance work.
"Now more than ever, it is critically important that we prepare the next generation of Black journalists," NABJ president Dorothy Tucker said. "We are proud that The Points Guy is partnering with NABJ to help us invest in our aspiring journalists by creating a scholarship. We look forward to a long-term relationship as we invest in the future of journalism through the power of education."
"I firmly believe that travel connects the world and makes it a better place," TPG founder Brian Kelly said. "But for far too long, travel media has not adequately represented or included people of color. Corporate leaders must use this time to examine their internal policies to further cultivate and support diversity. While I am proud of TPG, we can be more inclusive in all we do, from our hiring process to our support of black-owned businesses, to building the next generation of writers. I'm proud to partner with NABJ to help build the next generation of Black journalists. Their voices are needed more than ever."
You can donate directly to NABJ here.
Other noteworthy causes include:
- The Black Visions Collective Movement and Legal Fund, a Black, trans and queer-led organization that is helping lead the protests and advocating for community policing in Minnesota.
- Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en La Lucha A Minneapolis-based center supporting low-wage workers, who often are some of society's most vulnerable individuals. The center is taking donations of food and money to support organizers and pressuring local government for change.
- The Reclaim the Block initiative lobbies for cutting police spending, and re-routing some police funds to affordable housing, health, violence prevention, civil right and renter protections.
- The Twin Cities Recovery Project offers grief and trauma groups which are peer-run and connected to licensed therapists.
- The American Association for Access, Equity, and Diversity (AAAED) is a professional organization supporting affirmative action, equal opportunity, diversity and other human resources programs.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has more than 2,200 local chapters and has been at the forefront of the fight for equality since 1909.
- The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to fighting mass incarceration by providing legal support for people who have been illegally imprisoned, convicted, or sentenced.
- Campaign Zero's initiative to end police violence in America, Eight Can't Wait, advocates for clear policy solutions and data collection within police forces.
Black poet and activist Maya Angelou once said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." The first step toward progress requires us to listen and learn from people who have been telling us their struggles all along.
Here are some of the resources we are leaning upon at this time. If you have any good resources to share with us, please send them our way.
- A guide to supporting your Black colleagues during this time
- Stop asking people of color to explain racism — a list of educational books on identifying and dismantling the impacts of racism
- Black Lives Matter.carrd.co — Simple call-to-action tasks to educate and support the cause of racial justice
- A grassroots list of resources for deepening the work of anti-racism
Supporting black-owned businesses and restaurants is a tangible way to show your advocacy. Black-owned businesses have disproportionately suffered from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic; in fact, Black Americans have been one of COVID-19's hardest-hit demographics in general. So order from your local black-owned restaurants, frequent black-owned beauty salons and purchase books from black-owned bookstores if possible.
The travel brands below are just a few highlights out of a long list of businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs:
- Wanderstay Hotels — Houston-based Wanderstay was founded by Diedre Mathis, 32, who spent a year and a half traveling on just $12,000. Upon her return, she opened the first black-owned hostel in the United States
- Henderson Travel Service — this family-owned travel agency has been in business since 1955, and planned Martin Luther King's trip to Oslo in 1964 to collect the Nobel Peace Prize. The agency specializes in Africa tours, particularly to destinations such as Senegal, Ghana and South Africa.
- Salamander Hotels & Resorts — a boutique luxury hotel chain founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila Johnson
- Nomadness Travel Tribe — "the TED talk that black travel deserves" highlights the voices of more than 20,000 black and brown travel influencers who are responsible for more than $50 million spent in the travel industry each year.
- We Are Black & Abroad — a multi-faceted travel and lifestyle brand focused on the modern Black traveler experience
- Yellow Block B&B — a Brooklyn family-owned bed and breakfast purposely designed for groups of up to 25 travelers, such as family reunions
- Akwaaba — this collection of Northeast beautiful bed and breakfasts is owned by a husband and wife team who fell in love with the coziness and intimacy of the B&B experience and wanted to share it with others
RankTribe, the largest Black-owned business directory, offers a great list of Black-owned travel companies you should know about.
If your finances are tight, you can contribute cost-free by streaming this YouTube video, where all AdSense revenue goes toward causes that support the Black Lives Matter movement. Here's how to help:
- Watch this playlist, or simply stream it in the background with headphones on
- Do not skip ads
- Keep the volume at a minimum of 50%
- Stream the video at a resolution of 480p or higher
- Comment and like the videos
- Share this playlist on social media
Donate points and miles
Cash is king when it comes to charitable donations. Many grassroots initiatives may not know how to work with points and miles donations, assuming they even have the capability to receive donations in that manner. However, you can use a fixed-value card such as the Capital One Venture to pay for donations, where your points can be used to "erase" the charge on your statement.
If you have American Express Membership Rewards points and donate directly to a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, you can pay through the Amex JustGiving program, then apply your points toward the value of your cash donation. Note that the JustGiving website search function lists fundraisers first, then charities below in the next section of the search results.
The following organizations can be funded via JustGiving:
- Black Lives Matter Foundation
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- National Association of Black Journalists
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en La Lucha
Unfortunately, many airlines and hotels fall short when it comes to offering charitable donation options. For instance, United and Delta each offer a short list of partner organizations, while American offers donation opportunities for its proprietary social good programs, but none of the "big three" support any of the organizations listed above. Meanwhile, Marriott offers a few charity partners on its site as well. But points and miles won't be truly flexible until more hospitality brands offer widespread ability to donate to any organization, in a similar fashion to Amex's JustGiving program.
If you want to share your stash of airline or hotel points and miles, we suggest reaching out directly to non-profits and asking if you can sponsor a specific need.
Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Transforming the injustices in our society will take time. But we can support our Black family, friends and colleagues right now in many ways:
- Reach out to your Black loved ones and coworkers, and assure them of your support, advocacy and empathy (here's what not to say to your Black colleagues)
- Support a bail-out fund to release jailed protesters
- Educate your family members on racist ideology and unconscious bias
- Challenge comments in your social circle that reinforce racism and prejudice
- Share Black Lives Matter content in solidarity to raise awareness of the issues at hand
- Challenge your peers to ensure Black people have a voice in important decision-making
- Self-educate by reading up on black history and the long-term impact of white supremacy, which are still felt today
Black author Toni Morrison said, "The function of freedom is to free someone else." TPG unequivocally supports Black lives, and we commit to listening and learning from their voices.
Additional reporting provided by Caitlin Riddell, Benét Wilson, Jane Frye, Jenny Vallon, Maisha Johnson and Danielle Manyika.