Time to Act

COVID-19 has made all our worlds smaller, but for the Black American community, the world gets even smaller. For many, this is a crisis within…

Mark J. Barrenechea profile picture
Mark J. Barrenechea

June 1, 20203 minute read

black lives matter name list

COVID-19 has made all our worlds smaller, but for the Black American community, the world gets even smaller. For many, this is a crisis within a crisis within a crisis.

For Black Americans:

  • The unemployment rate has doubled to near 17%
  • The death rate from COVID-19 is 3x the rate of white people
  • 25% cannot pay their May rent
  • The incarceration rate is more than 5x the rate of white people
  • And they are 2x more likely to be shot and killed

And this is all happening at the same time. Simply leaving their home creates significant risks for Black Americans, including the risk of being killed by law enforcement, who are meant to protect society.

Over the last decade, social media has made clear to the world that which has been happening for centuries: Black Americans are being killed.

Freddie Gray walking in his neighborhood. Michael Brown shopping. Christian Cooper threatened while watching birds. Journalist Omar Jimenez doing his job. Jogger Ahmaud Arbery. EMT Breonna Taylor sleeping. And George Floyd killed by the police.

Here are the words of George Floyd being killed.

You can hear him pleading for his life, over and over again while a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Three other police officers stood by, participated and watched:

Please man.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
Momma, I’m through.
I can’t breathe.

I watched this video of his death, and it filled me with anger, disgust and sadness. It needs to fill us with action. America has made many advances in its history, but there are still two Americas. One group of Americans is denied human rights, civil rights, education, healthcare and a common platform to pursue the American dream. Until we confront and smash these inequalities, nothing will change.

We have made great advances in gender equity, equal pay and marriage equality; we must change the systematic machine that has caused injustice, hatred and racism.

We must continue to speak up and speak out, and do so with strength, with clarity and with peaceful resistance.

I am proud to be part of OpenText, a global organization that believes in merit, advancement, inclusion and diversity. When we put these ideals into motion, we can bring into reach, one America.

Today, I am supporting those who are defending, educating and empowering Black communities. Today, I made a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Today I am acting. I hope you will too.

Mark J. Barrenechea
OpenText CEO & CTO

For Further Reading and References:

Share this post

Share this post to x. Share to linkedin. Mail to
Mark J. Barrenechea avatar image

Mark J. Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea joined OpenText as President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2012, and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. In January 2016, Mark took on the role of Chief Technology Officer and was appointed Vice Chair in September 2017.

See all posts

More from the author

Welcome to Fiscal 2025 and the Launch of OpenText 3.0

Welcome to Fiscal 2025 and the Launch of OpenText 3.0

Dear OpenText Stakeholders: Welcome to Fiscal 2025! It is an exciting time to be a technology company as information automation and AI continue to drive…

3 minute read

OpenText Committed to Climate Innovation

OpenText Committed to Climate Innovation

As I return home from OpenText World Europe, I am feeling invigorated by the powerful conversations that occurred throughout the week. I am also feeling…

5 minute read

The Future Needs You Today: A Conversation on AI & Decolonization with Karen Palmer

The Future Needs You Today: A Conversation on AI & Decolonization with Karen Palmer

AI is bringing us into a new epoch of human society—it is a force multiplier for human potential. OpenText is about Information Management + Data…

8 minute read

Stay in the loop!

Get our most popular content delivered monthly to your inbox.